Well, is it? What do you all think, my readers?
My humble opinion (for what it’s worth) is that it is NOT dead/obsolete. I like to hold something in my hands… it’s hard to do that with digital copies of books, movies, and songs.
An old Gizmodo post claims that physical media will be dead by 2010. Since it’s now 2009 and CDs, DVDs and books (among other things) are being produced and bought at decent numbers, then I would say that they are wrong.
Jeremiah Owyang claims that physical media is archaic in his May 10th 2009 blog post. I see his point, but what happens when your hard drive takes a crap? (Let’s assume he’s a normal user and doesn’t back anything up.) What if your external hard drive you keep all your songs on gets stolen? What about fire? What if you accidently reformat your hard drive and lose all of your songs/movies/etc?
Also, this doesn’t even account for vendor lock-in via DRM. If all physical media were eliminated, then various companies may re-introduce DRM to their products and make it more stringent. As it stands now, if you buy a CD, you can rip it to any media format you like, whether that is .ogg, .mp3, .aac, or even the proprietary Microsoft format.
This also doesn’t account for your internet going down. Or your provider charging per gigabyte. Both of these scenarios show that you might want to have a physical copy of the program/movie/music.
I will keep buying music I find to be worth my dollar and download music I find on Jamendo.