MediaCat: Will there always be a place for physical media?

Cassettes, vinyl, CDs, print magazines, physical newspapers - the list goes on for the physical media people created and consumed over the years. But do they still have a place in the digital age?

  • "As a child of the ’80s I’ve experienced some huge shifts in both the format of physical media and my relationship with it: from coveting cassettes, vinyls and VHS to eventually filling the walls of my first flat with Billy bookcases of CDs, MDs (minidiscs) and DVDs. Part media library, part prized collection, part status symbol.

    With the advent of purely digital media, for millennials, Gen Z and beyond, ‘physical media’ feels a decidedly non-essential content curio — lifestyle over lifeblood.

    Sure, every charity shop worth its salt offers a healthy selection of cut-price DVDs for the thrifty collector, but digital media itself makes it simple for the savvy to watch what you want thanks to a Plex login and healthy disregard for anti-piracy laws. Yet even in their obsolescence, physical media formats hold stories to which the Cloud can’t compare — tactile and temperamental, full of character and quirks.

    There might not be a place in my home for physical media, but there’ll always be a place in my heart for it."