6 Reasons I’m Still Collecting CDs in 2024

CD sales are on the rise again, and for good reason. In fact, there are a lot of good reasons.

Cropped shot of a young woman shopping for DVDs at a store

It’s 2024 and streaming makes up more than 84 percent of the music industry. But there’s still a lot of love for physical audio formats. Vinyl is in a huge resurgence, of course, with sales growing year after year since 2005. In 2023, more than 41 million LPs were sold in the U.S. alone.

As for CDs, well, you might be surprised that people are still listening to them. In fact, I’m one of them. After being in a steady decline since 2000, CD sales are actually rising. Last, almost 37 million CDs were sold — up nearly three percent year over year.

Here are all the reasons I collect CDs and think you should, too.

1. CDs sound better than vinyl

One of the great myths in the audio world is that vinyl sounds better than CDs. It’s just not true.

Don’t get me wrong. I love vinyl’s warm analog sound, specifically its crackling and other imperfections. And there’s the visceral experience of actually dropping the needle on a spinning record.

But CDs are simply the best sounding physical audio format. Compared to vinyl, CDs are able to produce a wider dynamic range and more bass. Plus, they’re not going to skip (unless they’re scratched).

2. CDs sound better than streaming files, too

If you’re streaming music from the likes of Spotify, Apple Music or Tidal, you’re listening to a compressed music file. That means that the audio data is being stored in less space, which results in a loss of information and the music isn’t going to sound as vibrant or as complete. MP3, AAC, WMA are all types of compressed music files.

Most songs on streaming services are compressed files, meaning songs don’t sound as vibrant or complete.
Photo by Henry Phillips

The best compressed digital music files are referred to as lossless because they don’t lose information, but only a few streaming services are able to play lossless or CD-quality audio — such as Tidal, Amazon Music HD and Apple Music — and those require a subscription and can be pretty expensive.

3. CDs are significantly cheaper than vinyl

If you’re looking for a superior audio format, CDs are the best deal you’re likely to get. To be frank, they’re cheap to buy. Audio shops and retailers are practically giving away used CDs, while new CDs are usually in the $12 to $15 price range.

If you’re looking for vinyl, on the other hand, a new record will likely cost twice as much as that. Also, there’s the resale value of CDs and vinyl. It might not be much, but you can sell your old records and CDs online or to record shops. If you buy a digital song, like an mp3 file, there’s no resale value.

4. CD booklets are underrated

In this streaming age, the album artwork seems to be more of an afterthought (to consumers, at least). Sure, you see a little picture of the album cover when you’re listening to a song, but you’re missing the story of the album.

Woman reading a CD booklet
When you stream music, you lose one of the best parts about listening to a new album: diving into the booklet that comes with a CD.
Cambridge Audio

The 12×12 album cover of a vinyl record is still the gold standard, but the little booklet that comes with each CD, highlighting some behind the scenes shots or interesting artwork, and showing the lyrics to each song, is a nice middle ground between having to rely on digital images and having to store giant vinyl records.

As a kid, I always enjoyed getting a CD and flipping through the booklet — something I still try to do. I think it makes you feel more connected to the music.

5. Artists still release CDs of their new albums

Yes, you can still buy the latest albums of modern artists as CDs. They are releasing their new albums in CD formats just like they are also releasing them vinyl.

You can buy these new CDs at pretty much any music shop. But if you’re struggling to find a CD of a specific artist, it’s worth going to their official website — a lot of artists and bands these days sell direct-to-consumers these days as well.

6. Audio companies are still releasing new CD players

The portable CD player is mostly a thing of the past, but, believe it or not, big-time audio companies are still releasing CD players for the home. Why? Because audiophiles are still craving them.

In the past few years, companies such as Cambridge Audio, Panasonic, McIntosh, Rotel and Sony have all released new CD players (or integrating them into digital streamers).

These players are a great option for people who have a large CD collection and don’t want to pay for a music server (or spend the time uploading all their entire CD library to it). Also, high-end CD players aren’t terribly expensive.