The End of CDs?

India McCarty

2021 is now officially the summer of our Lorde and savior, because everyone’s favorite elusive songstress is finally dropping her third album. 


The singer announced the release of Solar Power, along with a world tour, and also dropped a pretty interesting piece of news: there will be no CD versions of Solar Power. 


Instead, fans can purchase a “Music Box,” a disc-less alternative that Lorde developed. The box will include handwritten notes from the singer, exclusive photos and other visual content, as well as a download card instead of a physical copy of the album itself. That card will give fans access to the album and two exclusive bonus tracks.


This decision came out of a desire to be more environmentally conscious. It sounds silly to point to CDs as a major contributor of waste, but according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, there are an estimated 10 billion CDs and DVDs in landfills around the globe. “As for how long it takes for a compact disc to break down in a landfill,” they say, “it essentially won’t break down in any measurable way ever.” 


In an interview with Billboard, Lorde explained, “I’m a pop star, and I drive this massive machine that takes resources and spits out emissions — I’m under no illusion about that. But in my personal life, of course, I started to tune into different things. Coming off tour I was like, ‘I just saw so much wasted food, everywhere we went, people were just wasting food.’ And I made this personal, private commitment to never waste any food, and [now] I really don’t, I have a compost and I eat everything that I buy.”


While this is noble, some fans have questioned why she will still be releasing vinyl versions of Solar Power. Others wonder if this is just a way to save money for labels; why budget for CDs when you know people will just end up streaming?


No matter the motivation, this is definitely a huge step in making the entertainment industry a little more green. Lorde has no illusions about her impact though: “We all know enough to know that real change in our climate crisis needs to come from legislation,” she says. “As much as I want to believe in the sort of personal approach, like — it has to be so much bigger than that.”


So, what do you think: is this a one-time thing, or are CDs finally going the way of the dinosaurs? Personally, I think they’ll stick around – the vinyl and cassette tape renaissance of recent years has shown that people have a love for the music mediums of the past, plastic be damned. 


Let us know what you think in the comments! 

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