Do CDs make sense in 2017?

Physical Product in 2017?  Yes, or no?

Many artists are wondering whether it makes sense to spend the money to manufacture a CD these days.  Of course it seems like the norm, after all, we all have closets full of CDs, even if we have transferred them all to hard drives or uploaded them to the cloud, but we bought those in years past and downloading and streaming is how most people acquire music these days.  In some genres the CD is still an important tool to make money on the road. Think of the “record table” at almost any bluegrass festival.

We would recommend CDs if you’re playing a lot of festivals or shows or going on some kind of tour – CDs are still a great impulse buy at the merchandise table. After all,  some people like a “souvenir” when they attend a show.  Also if you are a local band and you have a pretty good presence in the local market and you have or are willing to develop a good relationship with a local CD/book/record store, they may be able to move enough product to make it pay off for you.  You can estimate the cost of manufacturing a CD to be about $2.00 a piece for 500 copies or more.  This doesn’t include the recording costs of course – this is simply for artwork and the physical packaging for the release.

Don’t bother with CD manufacturing if you rarely play live and the majority of your focus is online/digital sales.  If you have a choice between professional mastering and making CDs, it probably makes sense to master your CD. It will make a difference in the sound.

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