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?