Next year’s Grammy Awards are set to make history for a rather interesting reasons, namely it’s the first time since 1984 that the Album of the Year Grammy could go to an album not released on CD.
Back in October of 1982, Japanese music lovers were treated to something special, and saw the first commercially available CDs released to the market. While Billy Joel’s 52nd Street is often cited as the first album to be released on CD, Bruce Springsteen’s 1984 record Born In The U.S.A. became the first compact disc manufactured in the United States.
However, the advent of easily accessible CDs in 1984 signified change not just for the music-loving public, but for industry awards as well. In fact, 1985 saw the first time that every one of the nominees for the Grammys’ Album of the Year were released on CD. Now, over three decades later, this interesting streak has ended.
The albums in question – Cardi B’s Invasion Of Privacy and H.E.R.’s self-titled debut – were released in a predominantly digital format, though the former did see a series of vinyl issues.
Of course, if we head over to Discogs, we can see that Cardi B’s album was released on CD for promotional purposes, and will be released on CD in the UK next year, but hasn’t seen a widespread CD issue in North America.
Check out H.E.R.’s ‘2’:
As Billboard also points out, back in 1984, the only albums up for nomination that had been released on CD in North America at that point were Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and The Police’s Synchronicity. Since then, every nominee had been released on compact disc in the US due to its dominance as the predominant audio format.
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So what does this say about listening habits? Does this mean that CDs are completely on the way out, or will they end up being used as something of a novelty?
Back in September, the Recording Industry Association of America issued their mid-year report which showed that physical sales were on the decline, and streaming was on the way up.
While this sounds obvious, they noted that vinyl revenue rose by 12.6%, while CD revenue fell by a whopping 41.5%. Furthermore, the shipment of physical products overall was noted to have dropped 25% — noted by the RIAA as a higher rate of decline than previous years.
As CDs continue to fall out of favour, we might end up looking at an industry where streaming dominates, and vinyl is the most popular physical format. Needless to say, this year’s Grammy nominees undoubtedly signify that a change is definitely coming.
Check out Cardi B’s ‘I Like It’:
2019 Grammy Award for Album of the Year nominees:
Cardi B – Invasion Of Privacy
Brandi Carlile – By The Way, I Forgive You
Drake – Scorpion
H.E.R. – H.E.R.
Post Malone – Beerbongs & Bentleys
Janelle Monáe – Dirty Computer