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Do Audio CDs have a Future for Musicians?

With varying and conflicting reports about the predicted future of CD sales continuing to pop up, at DiskBank we’ve been pleased to see the demand to be really holding its own.

Certainly digital downloads, vinyl, USB and other formats have taken a fair piece of the CD pie, I think there are still quite a few reasons why the CD – now more than 30 years continues to show strong demand.

1. Convenience. Playing a festival, gig or show and you want to sell your album? A digital download, vinyl record etc doesn’t quite share the convenient mix of size, portability and tangibility that the CD offers.

2. Packaging options. No other product format lends itself to quite so many variations or configuration or customisation. From the digicase, cardboard sleeve (with any number of panels), old fashioned jewel case with custom printed inserts like lenticular print….the options for being truly creative and flexible are endless.

3. Low cost. CDs are extremely inexpensive to produce in all quantities, but in particular, volumes of 500 or more. They’re a great way for a band to make at least some money!

4. They make a great gift. Digital downloads don’t share the same tangible value a CD has. Give me the booklet, physical nature of a CD any time.

5. They just work. Most of us have experienced itunes frustration, dead ipods, lost digital music libraries, no wifi….etc etc. It great to just put a CD in the player and it just works.

6. You actually own the music you pay for. 2 recent cases – Bruce Willis challenging Apple about the fact that when we die, our itunes music collections can’t be handed down. A second situation in which Apple, Amazon and Disney to remove some popular movies from their catalogs (even for those who had paid for them). Owners who had paid for the movies and wanted to download them again were out of luck. As iTunes Store Terms and Conditions says: "Some iTunes Eligible Content that you previously purchased may not be available for subsequent download at any given time, and Apple shall have no liability to you in such event."

No doubt there will continue to be pressure on the demand for CD, however for the time being it’s great to see it continue to be embraced and for creative artists push the envelope of great packaging design.

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