Cheesy headline – sorry.
So, MP3 music files are more convenient. More convenient for the user – easily available online through music distributors such as iTunes and Amazon, fast to download, portable, cheaper – if you just like one track you don’t have to buy the album.
More convenient for the vendor and distributor. How much room does 1000 albums take up in a shop and what it the overhead for manufacturing, transporting and storing those albums? Oh and they can be damaged so easily.
CDs are in the middle there somewhere – less expensive to store, but not quite as accessible; you can’t for reasons unknown suddenly desire to hear Meatloaf’s Bat out of Hell or Copeland’s Hoe Down (both of which I fancy just now – a mashup would be even better) and buy the CDs now – without getting out of your seat and going to a shop or ordering for delivery.
Neil Young has restarted the debate on the quality of MP3 and other sorts of digital and analogue reproduction of music.
This article from WIRED gives a great breakdown on the available alternatives and background on the long running controversay.