Don’t expect to pick up The Life of Pablo on CD. Kanye West says he’s never putting out another album on disc again.
In a new series of tweets, the rapper proclaimed the CD officially dead, claiming that the cover to his 2013 album Yeezus was “an open casket to CDs.” The album art sardonically depicts a blank CD in an unmarked jewel case sealed with a red sticker, turning the total absence of CD art into the art itself.
Were Kanye’s funeral rites for the format premature? Maybe, but he’s not wrong about streaming becoming the dominant method of music consumption.
People still buy CDs; an RIAA report from last year shows that 41.1 million CDs were shipped out to consumers by the first half of 2015, and CDs made up 66% of all physical purchases. But that’s down from the year prior, when 56.8 million CDs were sold by the first half of 2014. Streaming, on the other hand, is on the rise. The total value of streaming services went up by 6.3% from 2014 to 2015.
It looks like that Tidal investment might just pay off for Kanye, as even mp3 sales are on the decline. As for his 2013 RIP to CDs, call it prophetic: physical media seems to be in its death throes, even if it’s not quite dead yet.