Is the CD dying, or not?

Where the Dirt Runs out of Road CD The Crazy Daysies

Will CDs soon go the way of the cassette tape?

Maybe. Maybe not. 

An article at Fast Company dishes out some food for thought on the way people purchase and listen to music.

As major retailers announce they’ll stop stocking CDs, indie musicians may be surprised by demand from their fans.

Personal experience taught me this. As I often disclose, I help out with The Crazy Daysies. When their CD Where the Dirt Runs Out of Road came out, we ordered what we thought were enough. The CDs sold well, and pretty soon I was scrambling to find copies. We didn’t want to re-order them—we had intended it to be a limited edition and by then we were recording a new CD with new originals.

We had other surprises too.

The title track was used by a tourism group to promote the area known as Lake Murray (SC). Another song was acquired for an anthology issued by a Universal partner. Then that song, “Cheers to Getting Sober” was picked up by a music group partnered with Universal to be released as a single. By the time another song from the CD, “Until I Win”, was added to popular Spotify playlists, we realized we had done something right. None of us are experts in the music industry, but as fans continue to ask for CDs, we’ll include that medium in all our recording efforts.

The Fast Company article relates a story about an indie rock group surprised by selling all their CDs at an event.

While CDs may not be a hot retail item, indies may have a different perspective because every fan I’ve met preferred a CD over a download card or streaming.

Vinyl is hot right now, but it’s more expensive and takes more time.

There’s negative news about the industry overall in the article like this:

“From their peak of $13.2 billion in 2000, U.S. CD revenues have slid to just $1.2 billion in 2016, according to the Recording Industry Association of America.”

Then there’s the positive news for indie musicians:

“Earlier this week, the online music store Bandcamp reported 18% year-over-year growth in CD sales for 2017, up from 14% growth in 2016.”

What’s right for the band I know personally may not be right for you, but in general, I think CDs are a major asset to any band interested in recording original music.

If I had to point to one thing that helped the Daysies achieve their goals last year, it would be that CD.

The Fast Company article about CDs has some good info for indies, and it’s worth a reminder that as an indie musician, it’s not enough to have that CD. You will need to market and promote it and hopefully, you’ll get a return for your effort.

Bear in mind the worst thing you will ever say to a fan who wants a CD is, “We don’t have any.”

(Filed by Kay B. Day/Feb. 28, 2018)

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