Why You Still Need CDs If You’re Planning On Doing These 3 Things

I’ve got some news for you that might be hard to believe if you’re a musician hard at work in 2019. CDs are not a thing of the past. Far from it, actually. Believe it or not, there’s a couple of occasions in music where downloads and sending out links to stream your music simply won’t suffice. Technology has massively transformed the way the music industry operates, but there are a few things that have managed to weather the changes so far, and CDs is one of them. Here are three instances where you’ll need to duplicate CDs in your music career:

DIY or professional radio campaign

If you’ve got an album coming out that you want to promote with a professional or DIY radio campaign, you’re going to need CD versions of your music to get the job done right. Sure, you can search through the music submission formats of each and every radio station you’re planning on pitching, but this will largely be a waste of time because most serious stations only accept CDs. Will this change in a world growing more and more accustomed to the convenience of streaming? Maybe, but we’re not there yet. This might be frustrating if you’re an artist used to the convenience of posting your music online the minute it’s mastered, but legitimate radio campaigns still require CDs.

PR for your next album, EP, or single

This same concept goes for PR campaigns DIY or otherwise. Folks in the music industry who run blogs, write columns, and curate playlists are inundated with an endless supply of new music begging to be reviewed and featured. Duplicating CDs is a way to reflect a certain level of seriousness on behalf of an artist, and they’ll present your songs in a pristine, easy-to-listen to format. Putting yourself in the shoes of the people you share your music with will greatly increase your chances of finding success, and sending CDs show that you mean business about your music. 

Stand out from the rest with custom, beautiful, and professional CDs and jackets. Get started right here.

Represent your music in the best possible sound to fans and music industry influencers

If you haven’t been making music for a very long time, do yourself a favor and play your record through a streaming format and then on CD. The difference in quality will astound you. Most audiences have grown accustomed to listening to music that’s been squashed down into convenient streaming files, but music industry influencers and hardcore music-lovers haven’t. If you want to present your work in the best way possible from an audio perspective, CDs are still the best way to do it. In 2019, you’re not likely to sell loads of CDs, but not offering them means missing a big opportunity to give something valuable to fans, radio stations, and press outlets. 

CD duplication might just sound like another cost swimming in a sea of other expenses surrounding an album release, but it’s something you should plan for if you want to be taken seriously by picky fans, radio stations, and press outlets in 2019.

Patrick McGuire is a writer, musician, and human man. He lives nowhere in particular, creates music under the name Straight White Teeth, and has a great affinity for dogs and putting his hands in his pockets.

TylerWhy You Still Need CDs If You’re Planning On Doing These 3 Things


Join the conversation
  • Sidnei Falanga - January 1, 2020 reply

    Thanks, for opportunities!!!

  • Paul Levinson - January 3, 2020 reply

    Thanks for this savvy article! My new album Welcome Up: Songs of Space and Time – my first since Twice Upon a Rhyme in 1972 (how that for a marketing plan :)) – will be released by Old Bear Records next month. We’ve been promoting the album for a few weeks though CDs, and the response so far has been great! Exactly for the reasons you detail in your article. Thanks again!

  • Mem SHANNON - January 3, 2020 reply

    If you gig regularly you need cd’s ready to sell from the stage. They are spur of the moment buys. If your audience is excited about the “moment”–they want to take that memory home..sometimes with your autograph..

  • Andrea Marr - January 3, 2020 reply

    When you do a show people who really love it want to take away a tangible product and cd’s certainly sell well – especially signed ones! We offer a free business card to anyone who wants to know more about us and of course promote social media and website throughout the show to gather more fans.

  • David Vacek - January 3, 2020 reply

    As a Radio Station Music Director, I can say your article is right on point. We still require hard copy CD’s for quality of the recording and ease of use. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is explaining to artists how I simply don’t have enough hours in the day to download music files, rip them to CD, create the written playlist, etc… Especially when I recieve 150 plus music submissions per week on average.

  • Glenn Erickson - January 3, 2020 reply

    I’m the CEO of Diamondback Records, & we release country music compilations every 3 months to DJs in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada & select USA stations. We offer each DJ the choice to receive our compilations on CD or digital dropbox, and most of the most supportive ones prefer CDs. We welcome new, radio ready country songs.

  • Bill Bielby - January 3, 2020 reply

    We did a first-rate live album and I did a thousand CDs and did digital distribution vie DistroKid. At first I thought the CDs were a waste of time, but then I started distributing them Fred to top fans, venue owners, and media outlets. The response was incredible. I might not get a thousand CDs for our next album, but sevrersl hundred is definitely with it. Your analysis is spot on.

  • Garry Moore - January 3, 2020 reply

    You are absolutely RIGHT! CD’s are still the best way to listen to music! My audience & supporters still expect me to have CDs.

  • Greg Lee Henderson - January 4, 2020 reply

    People still want products that can hold in their hands !!

  • Tom Duarte - January 4, 2020 reply

    I have been wrestling with this issue quite a lot recently, trying to decide whether or not to release a fifth CD. Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Daniel “Doctor“ Ryman - January 4, 2020 reply

    Good Article
    As a music professional for 40 years, the problem I see with cd media is finding people / companies to do warehouse and distribution. Physical distribution has become almost impossible really only cdbaby is the only company I know that will warehouse and ship your CD. If there are more I would like to know who they are? This problem seems to be the biggest blockage of delivering high-quality files to the customer as compressed files just do not meet the quality level desired.

    Also the entire conversation about streaming quality versus CD quality was not addressed and I think this is a huge conversation perhaps you could cover this at some time
    All the best

  • David O'Connell - January 4, 2020 reply

    I love CDs and I’m not too fond of streaming. The sound quality of CD is far superior.

  • Chris grant - January 4, 2020 reply

    We thought our business model would have moved on by now to more merchandise, but as a CD Duplication business we’ve be busier than ever. We’ve put this is down to CD EP and album releases still being a great revenue stream for the independent artist and bands out there.

  • Kay Shelley - January 4, 2020 reply

    Hi Patrick. Very interesting. My partner Gavin K Sparks and I run a London-based jazz and Latin band called Pimp My Jazz, featuring some original songs from our 14-track album. We would like to release another album but can’t decide whether it’s worthwhile as we sell very few. Gavin composes all the time and I add lyrics,
    but not much of our material has ever been picked up, so it’s very disheartening. We really need support, but most websites charge a lot for doing very little. Thanks for your attention.

  • Kayode Olusola - January 4, 2020 reply

    Such a timely piece. Thanks!

  • Richie Valentine - January 4, 2020 reply

    Thanks for confirming what I’m doing, Patrick. I was a little concerned that still going physical was a little too old school.

  • Lori Lynn - January 4, 2020 reply

    Thanks for the article. Our band SpunJacked designed and created the cds ourselves. They are formatted just like any cd that you might buy in a store. The designing process was an education in of itself and enjoyable. We sent the cds out to radio stations with bios, and like your article stated, it is the professional way to submit music. Thank you for confirming that creating the actual cds is definitely worth the time and effort.

  • KFD - January 4, 2020 reply

    Didn’t you once write an article where you more or less said the opposite of this and stated something to the effect of “why would I want to receive a CD when I don’t even have anywhere to play it”…? lol

  • Bill Long - January 5, 2020 reply

    Representing my music in the best possible sound to fans and music industry influencers is challenging as there is a variety of players to consider. My tracks may sound great on studio monitors, then washed out on mobile, ok on car CD or USB, and heavy bass on truck CD player. There does not seem to be a way to target each player for best sound.

  • Ja Black - January 6, 2020 reply

    Good information, a must to know amongst the loads of things needed to go forward !! It’s not just the music – it’s the package.

  • Fernando Santos - January 6, 2020 reply

    The ones that love your work will want to have part of it in CD-object. in my opinion it is not the best medium to listen. Why? because most of the CD readers make a lot of noise. Loading sure, but most problematic a constant “piiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii” that is really annoying. – Many people do not maintain a proper sound-system and the standard this days is totally different, but… something like a SD-card, USB pen or any solid type of digital memory, will will have the potential do let the listener get the best sound possible. …Only my opinion; CDs are just a lot of unnecessary plastic, I still do it…..

  • Lola - January 14, 2020 reply

    Always enjoy your short & to-the-point pointers. Thanks again, Patrick 🙂

  • Darrell Looney - January 19, 2020 reply

    Y’know, I’m in the process of rewiring my recording studio space and I’ve been evaluating what I give space to. My CD printer and duplicator don’t receive a lot of attention lately. Largely because of electronic services such as MusicSUBMIT, Pandora and Spotify. Still, more than a few respondents have requested CD’s. I don’t do many live shows but want to soon so it seems these items will remain relevant.

    Da Phatfunk Clique

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