There's quite a lot of noise around at the moment about the possible end of the CD, as record companies (love the irony of using that description) are set to abandon the format by the end of 2012. Quite frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if they did. Every time I go into an HMV shop to get myself a DVD (and that's going to be next on the list) I get the feeling that I'm walking into a museum. I can't honestly remember the last time that I bought a CD, and the only time that I ever play them is when I'm driving.
Most of the time it's on the iPod, iPhone or if I'm at my desk, Spotify. I honestly can't see a reason to buy a CD now, since I get just about all of the music that I want for a tenner a month, and I don't have to worry about scratches, putting them back in their cases, the whole nine yards. 'Ah, but what if Spotify goes bankrupt or puts their charges up?' I hear you ask. It's unlikely that Spotify will go bankrupt, although given that countries see it as all the rage at the moment I can't be sure - but I'd be surprised. I also don't see that much sign that they'll put their price up, though to be honest if they did I'd still be getting a good deal, given that I used to spend a lot of money buying music. But if that happened, and people got ticked off with them, the model they use is sound, so someone else will come along and do the same thing - and indeed there's already companies making similar offerings. It's not the tool that's important, it's the activity.
Now, where does this leave libraries? If I worked in a public library I'd certainly be eyeing up the racks of CDs and wondering what to put in their place. I'd also be tempted to offer advice and information on how to get music in other formats to my members. I'd be thinking also about what to put in place of that collection of racks.