It’s 2020, Mac has removed CD-roms in their laptops and Spotify has been growing exponentially each year, so why should we still make CDs? Well I mean…who doesn’t make CDs anymore? From Lady Gaga to the new indie kids on the block. You see, CDs are still a must. You cannot from music streaming alone. Earning a minimum wage from Spotify is a lot harder than you think. To carve out a minimum wage, artists need to have 3,450,892 streams if the minimum wage is set to $15,080.40.
As a musician, you earn from CD sales, from gigs, from merch. Period. BUT in case you need more convincing, here are the reasons why you should still release your album in CD today:
CDs ARE VERY AFFORDABLE TO MAKE
The important thing to know about CDs is that they’re very cost effective. Buying 1,000 CDs through a plant may cost just over $1,000. This means the price per unit for each CD is likely under $1.50 in value. That’s an affordable purchase for growing bands and small labels, and one with decent margin for a $5 or $10 sale.
PERFECT FOR DRIVING
While some car newer manufacturers such as Tesla are making cars without CD players, many car-makers such as Volkswagen, Ford, Lexus, and Mitsubishi have 2016 models with a CD player still in the dashboard stereo. One of my friends, Sarah, said “I buy [CDs] still because driving in the car (with the CD player) is the only time I really get to listen to music.
Even if you don’t care about audio quality now, you might still want to invest in high-quality music, and the standard encoding for CDs, 1,411.2 kilobytes per second, beats any online competition.* Since most music is now recorded digitally, vinyl often offers the same sound quality as CD at a higher price.
*The iTunes store sells downloads at 256 kbps; Amazon mp3 averages the same bitrate. Spotify uses a baseline of 160 kbps, with 320 kbps for Premium subscribers. YouTube audio ranges from 64 kbps to 512 kbps. Pandora plays 64kbps AAC+. Bandcamp offers lossless FLAC downloads, but has a far more limited selection.
– Jonah Wolf
Research suggests that the sound quality of CDs themselves could be a significant reason why audiophiles are clinging to physicals discs. In 2014, Cambridge Silicon Radio Limited (CSR), a U.K.-based audio and communications technology developer, released a survey of 2,000 people who listen to music at home in 2014, which found that 77 percent of at-home-listeners wanted better sound quality from their music. With CD sales still relatively high, it could be that Philips’ and Sony’s endeavor to create higher quality audio with the CD was so successful that it still hasn’t been topped, and people want CDs sheerly for the quality of the sound.
CD sales always spike in the fourth quarter because you just can’t wrap a download. Market research shows people buy CDs out of habit. They also buy when they really like the artist. They want a physical package with the artwork. CDs offer that offer a kind of connection with the artist.
– David Bakula, SVP of client development for Nielsen
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.