CD – A Retro Format?

CD as Retro Format?

I never thought I would see the day but it’s official, the CD is now a retro format. I will have to admit here that i am old enough to have spent my formative years consuming music through the other more commonly though of rear formats of vinyl and the compact cassette – any suggestion that i have a few wax cylinders in my collection are complete fabrication! It is plainly apparent that optical disc is a declining format, certainly in terms of consumers and the general consumption of paid for content. Our own personal experience at 10th Planet Digital Media is borne out by the fact that we now manufacture more USB than DVD (by value at least).

However, there are plenty of reasons that make an optical disc still highly viable as a delivery format. Of course delivery over the internet is cheap (some might say free) but there are a multitude of problems that can interfere with the safe delivery of your data bits, from buffering impeding the enjoyment of your film to the inherent minefield that is caused by the range of codecs, operating systems and platforms. It is always safer from a usability point of view to deliver your package as bits on a physical format that is removed from the factors beyond your control that could prevent their delivery.

Creative CD Packaging

Having said all that about data delivery, this is not the real reason for the resurgence in discs, certainly in CD. It all comes down to the simple fact that discs come with packaging. And these days packaging is the main driver for this renaissance. Although overall figures for sales of CDs as a music format are falling, the average price of a disc is, if anything, going up. This is due to the reliance on interesting and collectable packaging to differentiate the physical format from the digital download. A true fan will see their purchase not simply as a way to consume the music, but as the acquisition of a collectable and desirable object that reflects their favourite artist’s image. At 10th Planet we are working more and more with artists that demand unique, interesting and collectable packaging for their release. Often including multiple formats ( CD, VInyl and USB) and unusual materials.

Despite the reduced demand for CD Replication, a carefully planned project including some tasteful creative cd packaging will bring value to a CD release that could elevate it from music delivery format to a collectable with longevity. Call us if you would like to discuss your next release.

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