There's nothing wrong with digital format if you're not that bothered with art work, lyric sheets etc. I do agree that with vinyl, cassette and CD there was more of an investment in music. First you had to save up for the release. Then actually leave your home to go to the store and buy the release. Then you brought it home, unwrapped, put it on and actually sat down to listen to the whole thing. If it was cassette or vinyl, you had to get up half way through to switch sides. In addition, one might have also followed along with the lyric sheet. There was also credits to read etc etc. There was much more involved. With downloads, it’s much more immediate, and dare I say disposable. The involvement of listening to music in download form can be next to nil. However, I’m sure there are lots of people who do spend the time to actively listen to downloads. So all is not lost.
I know there are people who believe that vinyl sounds better then digital. Vinyl over all has many sonic compromises (limited dynamic range, limited eq possibilities) which enable as much of the signal to be reproduced. Digital on the other hand has much less if no compromises making for the possibilities of a huge dynamic and Eq range. The interesting thing is that the loudness wars has made it so that this huge dynamic and Eq range is NOT utilized. As a result, with many digital recordings you get that LOUD LOUD consistently LOUD signal.
With music being so portable nowadays, this LOUD compressed signal is almost a necessity when one is out and about. Who wants to fiddle with their iPod or Phone to raise or lower the volume within a song when out and about. Vinyl on the other hand is obviously not portable and can only be listened in the comfort of a controlled environment. As a result, variable dynamics is not a problem. In addition, the dynamics of each song are tailored to fit the sequencing of the songs.
Over all, it’s not much the format that is the issue with sound quality, but the way the signal is processed at the mastering level. I’m sure that if more dynamics were brought back into all recordings, many would agree that the sound quality would improve. Even in digital downloads.