The Death Of CDs… Your Thoughts?

Sorry about the late news posting everyone, I’m trying to get these things up by Saturday morning but sometimes my news is so completely devoid of excitement I have to scrap it. You, my devoted readers, deserve better. So I’ve got a question for you this time …

I was having a few drinks with my friend Steve Mynett the other night while we checked out his latest Mac purchase: Apple TV. A handy little gadget that, among other things, allows you to look up Youtube videos on your television. As we surfed from bootleg videos of Seamus Blake, to comedian Russell Peters, to a Megan Fox photo shoot… whatever, it hit me again just how extraordinary it was. Umm, no … not the photo shoot, I’m talking about the changing face of digital entertainment.

Now, I’ve recently been thinking about recording some of the more tradition jazz music I’ve been working on over the last year and recent media trends have me wondering if producing an actual CD is worthwhile. So I ask this media savy, web designer/musician friend of mine what the future is for the compact disc. And before the word “disc” has even been completely uttered from my lips he blurts out…

“DEAD!”

“But what about?”

“DEAD!”

He spat out the answer one more time, as if the medium personally insulted him.

“Okay, Okay! I get it! But just look at it from a musicians perspective. They’ve got to sell music from the stage somehow. Don’t they?”

“They’ll sell downloads.” he answers.

“That’s it!?” I ask. “Won’t people still want something tangible to take home with them after a show? What about liner notes? What about pictures?”

“What you’re talking about, and what has been offered via download so far, is the typical CD package (based on the old phonograph record package): CD, liner notes, photo. And that’s what has been made available via downloads as well; the traditional CD package. What has yet to be fully discovered is … What is the new package? The internet offers a new way to present your music, … what will that be? Perhaps instead of liner notes, the package includes video of the artist explaining their songs, along with video from the actual studio recording. Etc, etc.”

Personally, I don’t doubt that CDs are on the way out. Just look around you: record stores are going out of business, major music labels are taking a beating, and the Canadian Copyright Board is raising the levy on blank CDs to compensate for the fact that most consumers aren’t even bothering with empty compact discs to copy with!

However, despite the convenience I don’t think that musicians will simply peddle codes for downloads off of the stage. I think there has to be something tangible for people to take home with them, whether it’s a cute little USB key, or a poster, or … I don’t know.

So please chime in on this subject (james@jamesdanderfer.com) and voice your opinions as to what the “new package” should include and what you’d prefer to take away with you, if not a CD, from a show. I’ll post your suggestions next Saturday.

Have a great week! JD

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