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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

CDs are making a comeback thanks to Gen Z

from Axios

Thank you Taylor Swift fans!

The humble compact disc has gone from relic to retro as Gen Z music fans look for ways to commemorate their favorite artists.

Why it matters: Though music streaming continues to dominate, younger fans are looking for multiple ways to listen and connect to artists, says Josh Friedlander, senior VP of research and economics at the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Revenues from physical music formats, including CDs, recently hit a decade high.

What they're saying: "I think mostly for Gen Z it's an aesthetic thing," Donald Nde Jr., a 22-year-old based in Minnesota, told Axios.

  • Nde, who produces his own music, purchased his first CD as an ode to one of his favorite artists at the time — the late rapper and record producer MF Doom.

  • "I was like, let me just buy [the CD] just to support him, and I don't even think I even played the CD or even tried listening to it ... it's already on my phone," said Nde, who typically buys one to two CDs per month.

  • "You have to really like an artist to go out of the way to spend money on them in that form because you can easily just go turn on the song in five seconds and it's already playing," he added.

State of play: Sources in retail, manufacturing and management told Billboard that CDs are becoming popular keepsakes and "merch table mainstays."

  • For instance, Taylor Swift offers deluxe versions of her albums for purchase, and fans have flocked to the merch tables at her concerts to snag coveted physical copies.

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