Music: The Great Lp Vs. Cd War

Are compact discs the audio equivalent of McDonald's?

To die-hard aficionados of long-playing records, it is nothing less than a Faustian struggle between humanism and technocracy for music's soul. To the growing legion of compact-disc devotees, it is a contest that pits the past against the future of high-fidelity audio recording.

Only three years ago, the laser-read records known as compact discs, or CDs, were an untested and expensive new technology whose acceptance by consumers was the music industry's great imponderable. Today the upstart CD is challenging the decades-old supremacy of the long- playing record. Last year CDs accounted for 8.9% of the sales of the $4.4 billion recording...

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