Once upon a time, music could only be recorded on metal cylinders with holes cut out of them. Then came a format with real mass appeal, the record, a gently crackly and authentic sounding disk that brought popular music into the homes of millions, and which is still a cult favourite today. From those heady days we have seen even more changes – to tape cassette, to minidisk (a format that died an unceremonious death), to CDs, still the most popular hard copy format on the market. Of course, this is a market now being shared by the digital. By downloads, and MP3s.
The emphasis here, therefore, needs to go on “shared”. Digital copies have in no way replaced CDs. They are taking a chunk out of the market, and they are a secondary copy of music that most people have, but they are certainly not yet the be all and end all. Therefore it seems a little presumptuous when a massive automotive company such as Ford announce that, in Europe at least, they will no longer be kitting out their new cars with CD players, instead adding in multiple options to allow digital copies to be uploaded, plugged in, and played.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining about the fact that digital compatibility will be installed in Fords as standard. Of course I’m not.Personally I own many solid days worth of music in a digital format, and to be able to link in my phone, MP3 players, USB drive or external hard drive is a great idea. It makes life easier, it makes life simpler. However, I think replacing the CD with this technology is foolish,and risks alienating a still considerable section of the market.
Instead, ford should have balanced being forward-thinking with the needs of their target market. A target market who still own and buy a lot of CDs, albeit not quite as many as once they did. They should keep the CD players, and add in the rest – and then they’d stand a chance of their audio options actually impressing the people that they are trying to convince to buy their cars.
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