WORD!!! Are CD’s Dead?

WORD!!! Are CD’s Dead?

Michael Lawson
November 21, 2011 

Lately there’s been a lot of talk about whether the CD is going the way of vinyl albums and while this may be true for the bigger labels it might not be for small and unsigned bands.  A 2008 Gartner report stated that the Christmas of 2008 would be the last year for giving CDs, but has since changed their tune in this Report forecasting a slow decline in media purchases through 2015. So even for the big labels the CD isn’t ready to be eliminated anytime soon.

Revenue from CDs. Band merchandise and playing out are still an original bands best bet for making some money. While you still need to master the tracks the cost of making a physical CD has come down considerably, by either using a service or making them yourself.  Cost to making them yourself varies but gone are the days of just handing out a CD written on with a sharpie.

The other day I went to a show and picked up an EP in a nice cardboard case with the band’s name and a CD with a cover inside.  The only problem with this was that the CD was one of the white printable kind and had nothing printed on it. This is a problem for me because the only time I play a CD is in the car and usually right after a show.  I take the CD that is in the player from last time and put it into the container from the new one, eventually I get them into the house at some point to sort them out but a blank CD is no way to market your band.  The next time the CD sees a player it is usually when I am ripping it into my iTunes library.

If you are looking at doing the CDs yourself an Epson Artisian Printer is a good addition to your home studio and can print out some great artwork.  I have the Artisan 835 but as of this writing it has been replaced with the Artisan 837 they both have a tray specifically meant for printing CDs and DVDs. Printing takes about 30 seconds per CD and costs run less than 50 cents per CD including ink and media. The printer itself can be found online for around $200.

There’s also something about the collectability of a CD, somehow handing out a download card isn’t as memorable as a physical reminder of the band. So for now the CD is safe and not going away anytime soon, but still plan for the future and put your tracks up on iTunes for the people who can’t make a show.

So let us know your opinion is the CD dead?



3 Responsesto “WORD!!! Are CD’s Dead?”

  1. lsgoriginal says:

    Dear Mr. Lawson:

    When you told me you were writing about this topic, I also thought it begs the sister question…Are record labels going by the way-side as well? Another topic. Another day.

    I love CD’s (well, vinyl as well…I stop short at 8 Tracks!). I want to hold it in my hand. I want to look at cover art and inserts. I want to see who the band thanks and I want lyrics. I want to see them stacked in the corner near my cd player, falling out of places in my car, and on my cd rack.

    But the biggest thing to me (especially for local and indie bands) is the schwag factor. Aside from a t-shirt, what does a band starting out or without ample funds sell (or even give away) at shows to promote themselves? A ep or CD, of course. What’s the alternative, a piece of paper with their website and where they can download songs? Um, no. You need the CD (and records…so many bands now…even local bands like M.T. Bearington as example…have pressed vinyl.) If I like a band, I want instant gratification. I want to buy their CD right then and there and then put it in my car and listen to it as I drive home.

    Maybe I’m just old-fashioned (eh hem). But, I want something tangible. I like CD’s.

    - lsg

    • Michael Lawson says:


      hmm a lot in this comment it may actually be bigger than the post itself. There are so many angles to attack this from based on LBR’s mission I chose it from a band’s marketing perspective, but I do think I lightly touched on all your points. As far as the collectibilty of music in a physical form I agree but for me it’s always been about mobility of music. For me nothing is better than driving in the car with the windows down singing a long to a few good tunes (You should know this…). So when the vinyl disappeared I really didn’t miss it that much. I think everyone has a different take on what makes music important to them, it’s all about the memories.


  2. SeanLBT says:

    I agree for locals it’s the way to go (Cds). I also think there is a certain market that wants that physical CD and case. And the artwork and lyrics and thank yous. We are seeing less and less of the CDs and more itunes and CDbabys taking over. People miss that artwork factor. Record labels are going away for sure as their profits are going under. But CDs are here to stay…..at least for now.