Taking My Relics on the Road.


2010 was the final model year for any car in the U.S. to have a factory equipped cassette player. Cassettes were replaced by compact discs and the format became dominant in the 1980’s with its peak in number of discs manufactured in 1988 (400 million according to Wikipedia). Now the CD format is facing the same problem as cassettes did with auto manufacturers such as Hyundai opting for blue tooth driven interfaces that can be synced with Apple and Android phones. Bad news for people like me who own thousands of antiques, I mean CDs, and like to play them in their jalopies. I and others will either stick with older model cars or be forced to use the auxiliary input to plug in a portable CD player and pretend like it’s 1988. CDs were oriented to car stereos which was a problem for some listeners who didn’t like all the music being mixed as loudly as possible to overcome traffic and other noise. So if auto makers all remove the CD from the car stereo then disc manufacturers may pull the plug since sales would certainly take another tumble. Nielsen SoundScan numbers indicate that CD sales of albums had a 67.6% share of the market in 2011. In 2014 the share dropped to 48.3%, so the trend is already pointing toward the end of the CD era. A lot of people believe the format will survive much like vinyl has even when the major manufacturers quit producing them. I am not opposed to having a vehicle that accesses downloadable or streaming content I just don’t want to lose the option to play a format I have invested heavily in and I don’t want to give up the tactile sensation of spinning a disc. When I show my kids a CD or record they are curious about what it has embedded in it and they get excited to hear music. They are interested in playing music because they can make the connection between holding an instrument and producing the sound as opposed to watching a screen and hearing music come out of nowhere. So a total changeover to streaming/downloadable content concerns me, a lot of joy could be lost for the sake of convenience. Plus what am I going to do with thousands of unplayable discs, I don’t need nearly that many drink coasters. I’m not totally distraught, since I wasn’t aware factory equipped cassettes players held out as long as they did but the writing is on the wall. I don’t see how you can pull out a dashboard interface to install a CD stereo, it just doesn’t make sense. So I’ll have to be the guy who buys portable CD players from the internet to plug into an auxiliary jack on my interface panel so I can get around blue tooth technology just to listen to Thin Lizzy albums without commercial interruptions. I can live with that.


2 thoughts on “Taking My Relics on the Road.

  1. 00individual empathizes.
    All of the joy of purchasing and playing music: LPs, turntables, 8-track and cassette decks, CDs and DVDs, have been usurped for the instant gratification of disposable pop music – music that is not lasting, memorable, classic or iconic – music for today not tomorrow.
    Just be thankful of the period of time in history you got to experience when music listening was a joy for many reasons. And treasure the moments with your children in sharing “what it was like”.
    Music is a self-centered experience now, no longer a bonding of friends, peers and a generation.
    Get that adapter/onterface and Rock On!

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