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Phasing Out Compact Discs
March 12, 2017

If you go to my music page, you'll notice that all of my music is offered via download, and my latest album is available on all of the major music subscription services. In 2016, music streaming services finally surpassed CDs to become the most popular way in which people buy music, but CD sales have been declining dramatically since the early 2000's.

The main reason for the decline, as it pertains to polka music sales, is an aging target market. Whereas polka music fans used to buy CDs to listen to at home and while traveling in the car, many of them have now moved into senior residences and no longer travel. They're not going out and following bands like they used to, and therefore no longer buying recorded music.

Cookie-cutter, beer-drinking polka CDs still sell to the general public at Oktoberfests, but the discerning polka music market that once thrived has dwindled to the point where it's no longer economically viable for most local polka bands to manufacture CDs.
Polka music distribution has always lagged behind the rest of the music industry by about fifteen years, so compact discs will reign unchallenged in the polka market for a number of years yet. But the bands that will be making most of the CD sales are the traveling bands who can spread their points of sale out across multiple festivals around the country. Local bands, who once relied on a thriving local fan base, are now facing up to a 75% reduction in compact disc sales compared to just fifteen years ago.

My next recording, which I estimate will be released around the beginning of June, will likely be my last compact disc release. From then on, my music will be released via digital distribution only, which means it will be available through online music streaming services and nowhere else. There's always a possibility of an unknown factor causing enough of a local sales bump to have me rethink my position on manufacturing CDs, but I'm not counting on it. My latest album is being enjoyed by music service subscribers all over the world, and that suits me just fine.

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