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Not only is the CD format alive and well, but it's emerging from the "online" revolution looking healthier than ever. 92 per cent of DRM-store downloaders surveyed by Entertainment Media Research prefer the plastic platters to their MP3 downloads, Revolution magazine reports.

It supports the theory that online downloads are complementing, rather than replacing traditional CD sales; with shoppers using the online stores to sample music before getting "the real thing". 80 per cent of "legal" downloaders surveyed said they will buy as many or more CDs buy as many or more CDs in the future.

CDs have better sound quality than music downloads, and in most countries have no restrictions on how the user listens to the music.

Although Napster and Apple claim downloads in the millions, it's a drop in the ocean compared to CD sales and peer to peer networks. And even the most optimistic growth forecasts see online stories making only modest inroads: at best around eight per cent of the market in five years' time. That's if the today's online stores survive. With the DRM stores only keeping four cents of the 99 cents you pay for a song, only businesses that view it as a loss leader for another product, such as Apple with its lucrative iPod business, are likely to survive. Little wonder that MP3.com founder Michael Robertson called it a "goldrush for lemmings". ®

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