Recommended The Business

Save yourself the money and STOP making CD’s!

A new study by the ominously named Total Bankruptcy blog breaks down the current state of selling music.

As any stroll through Best Buy or the former site of your favorite record store will tell you, physical album sales are asymptoting their way to virtual zero.  In the last decade, CD sales dropped over 76%; by 2016, they’re projected to drop another 77%, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Yes, vinyl sales actually are going up.  Vinyl is a great piece of merch — it’s like band art in a nostalgic packaging that can be displayed and even played on the right occasion.  If you have the money and demand to press it up, by all means do it!

But don’t bother pressing up a bunch of CD’s for your next album.  Instead, put that money (and van space) towards creative merch or anything else that people will find more useful than an obsolete piece of plastic.

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  • Stephen

    This post takes the above info graphic completely out of context. It simply tells the story of the decline of retail CD sales and says absolutely nothing about self-released / DIY CDs that bands sell at shows and on tour. If you’re among the many hordes of smaller, unsigned bands, pressing a small run of CDs is a perfectly fine idea (especially if the packaging is unique or handmade). Yes, not everyone will buy it, but many people will appreciate the experience of tangible object – not too mention supporting you directly – and having nice looking CDs and other merch just makes you look more serious and/or professional.

    And if you play in the right type of band, cassette tapes are a great inexpensive analog medium that you can DO YOURSELF and have a similar nostalgia factor as vinyl.

    • Even not looking at the infographic, it doesn’t take much digging to see that CD’s are becoming obsolete in favor of MP3’s. When’s the last time you saw somebody walking around with a Discman, or a car without an iPod plugged into the deck?

      Yes, do still offer your music for sale at your shows if you feel people will buy it — but we contend that people will buy it up more if you sold it on a custom USB drive rather than a stock jewel case. (I do like your unique/handmade packaging suggestion, but not alotta bands take the time to make custom CD packaging, so it just becomes a useless piece of plastic once fans rip the disc onto their hard drive)

    • knowing

      Just like a USB becomes, And USBs are more expensive than CDs. Also, people have tried them, even as giveaways, and they still don’t move as well as CDs.

    • NAME

      Flash drive makers would like DIY bands to think cds as obsolete medium.
      Still it is cheaper to make cds. So bring your prices down mr.Flash

    • You’ve uncovered our secret — we are lobbyists for the Flash Drive Makers, who are also responsible for the downward spiral in CD consumption across the board.

    • Uppity McBossy

      when people hand me a CDR with magic marker on it two seconds later I toss it like a frisbee (j/k)… not too long ago a professionally pressed and duplicated cd with good/pro artwork/sleeve (not in a frigging jewel case, can’t believe I still get handed those) was a business card of sorts at the very least — but it’s not an item I can fit in my pocket… the game has changed, anyone attempting to still sell CDs is gonna be the MySpace of their given genre, even as a touring act — bands’ merch tables need to adapt though it might not be a bad idea to press a short run for the occasional Luddite ready to kick down a 10-spot who might otherwise walk away muttering about the F’n technology.

    • Ed Gruberman

      You know they still sell cassette tapes and VCR players? My ipod (dead too?) doesn’t really do me any good in my 2001 car

    • Uppity McBossy

      i kick myself when i think of the amount of vinyl i once owned and deemed obsolete.