He was virtually declared dead, but now he has been rediscovered: the CD. LPs are not affordable for everyone and just listening to music via streaming services is no longer enough.
It is mainly young people who buy CDs, says Esther Lutgendorff of record store Velvet Music Amsterdam. And that has everything to do with the price: “A CD costs 15 to 20 euros, for an LP you quickly pay 40 euros, which is more than double that.”
The range of second-hand CDs is also huge, says Lutgendorff. “As a result, you can already get good titles for 2 or 3 euros and build a nice collection for relatively little money.”
“Many people have disposed of their collection in recent years. Some may regret that.”
More and more music lovers seem to have a need for a tangible CD collection again – just as before streaming services became popular. “They miss having a collection at home, for when they have visitors and for themselves,” says Lutgendorff.
“If you just use Spotify, you don’t have an overview of what you listened to a lot a few years ago. But when you have it on your shelf, you walk past it, you look at it and you think: ‘hey, but this record I’m going to listen again.”
CD collector Kees Bos knows better than anyone how much fun a CD collection is. “I haven’t bought any LPs since the invention of the CD. Not because I have anything against the LP, but I just like the CD better. I think the format is magical and I like that many CDs come with a booklet.”
A few years ago he stopped counting, with his 12,000th CD. New copies are added every week. His most recent purchase is The Depth of S10. There are so many that they no longer fit in the closet. That is why Bos takes them out of the boxes and puts them in plastic sleeves.
At full speed
And Kees Bos is not the only enthusiast, they also notice at Replifact, the only remaining independent CD factory in the Netherlands. “Our factory is running at full speed and we are now also receiving orders from abroad,” says owner Wander van Munster. “I make 4 million a year, and then I’m just a little one.”
Van Munster is pleased, but not surprised about the comeback of the CD. “I’ve never understood why the CD was dismissed as a ‘laugh’. It’s such a brilliant product technically.” Van Munster, who comes from mechanical engineering, also has a collection of tens of thousands of CDs. But for a different reason than Bos’s. “I don’t collect because of the music, but because of the technique.”
Technique over music
Everything is measurable with a CD, says Van Munster enthusiastically. “They have digital contactless scanning, LPs are technically limited. After all, it is technology from 70 years ago. When producing an LP it is like throwing something into a black box: you don’t know what will come out.”
Van Munster also notices that more and more artists are choosing to release their music on a CD. “The waiting times for an LP are very long at the moment, at least a year to 2 years. There is too little capacity. Semi-pros certainly don’t have the time for that. With a CD you can be helped in 14 days.”
Best of both worlds
He can see why people are attracted to the LP: “It’s the experience. LPs often have a double sleeve and the artist can put his head on it.”
That is why Van Munster increasingly supplies CDs in a cardboard version. “The plastic version of the past is not so popular anymore. I make more and more CDs in a cardboard version, with a double sleeve, a small LP cover actually, but with a CD in it. Then you have the best of both worlds.”
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