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Physical Media CD's & Vinyl Records verse Streaming


The preferred method of music delivery

Streaming continues to grow as the preferred method of music delivery, but physical media is still strong. Contrary to what many people believe, the CD is not dead.

Statistics from the Recording Industries Association of America (RIAA) report that digital downloads and streaming accounted for approximately 34% each of the industry's American revenue during the 2015 fiscal year. Downloads declined about 10% from the previous year, while streaming rose by 6%. Physical media—CDs and LPs—accounted for almost 29% of revenue.

 Worldwide, the purchase of physical media continues a slow decline, accounting for 39% of the industry's revenue in 2015, vs. 46% the previous year. Digital delivery (downloads and streaming combined) accounted for 45% of total revenue, according to figures published by London-based International Federation of Phonograph Industries (IFPI), the global trade organization for the music industry.

Vinyl records may be only two percent of physical media sold, but it’s enough to keep record pressing plants in business, some working round-the-clock. Many musicians consider it a matter of artistic integrity to issue new releases first on vinyl, with the same music coming out in digital form a few weeks later.

Vinyl continues to gain traction with music lovers, and turntable manufacturers stay busy churning out everything from high-quality affordable rigs such as the Rega RP-3 to cost-no-object designs for the elite. Growing numbers of electronics companies have returned to including phono pre-amps in their pre-amps, integrated amps, and receivers.

Lavish Hi-Fi stocks the full line of Rega turntables, plus phono-capable electronics from Cambridge Audio, Parasound, Rega, NAD, and GamuT. Soon we will be carrying remastered vinyl from Mobile Fidelity and Intervention Records.

We offer expert service on older turntables. Most require only a new drive belt, a bit of lubrication, and some simple adjustments to sound their best. For those who’d like to upgrade the performance of legacy turntables, we have the full line of Ortofon cartridges. At Lavish, there is no charge for installing newly purchased cartridges.

Music streaming services typically charge only $10/month per subscription. Affordability and convenience explain their increasing popularity: the number of streaming subscribers in the US grew 40% over the 2014-2015 period. As of June 2016, Spotify had 36 million paying customers; Apple Music had 15 million.

Electronics makers are embracing this trend with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled devices. The vast majority of music lovers use smartphones as playback sources. Easy-to-use wireless features are becoming omnipresent in audio products at every price point.

Bluetooth delivery can sound excellent. Lavish stocks many Bluetooth-ready products, including the Vault from Bluesound, the Muo portable powered speaker from KEF, and the Daniel Hertz M9 integrated amplifier. Whether your preference is old-school analog or cutting-edge digital, Lavish has what you need.

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