There’s the argument that you could just give people the website address to listen to your music online. But there is definitely more inclination to listen to a track when in possession of physical media than going online to listen. It’s probably better quality too, and more often with the average consumer their CD player will have better sound reproduction than their computer.
Thing is, the ability to read/play Vinyl discs, cassette tapes, and floppy discs and many other dead or dying or less popular formats continued long after the mainstream public shunned them in favour of better formats. Many hi-fi manufacturers continued to sell units with turntables and cassette players well into the 2000’s. The same thing will probably happen with CD players too.
I thought about that too with selling Flash Drives with the album(s) on it. Problem is the cheapest flash drive still costs significantly more than a CD, even a pressed one. I just looked on NewEgg and the smallest drive they have is 512MB and cost $5.99 with the next up being 1GB at $7.99. Sure one can buy bulk but it will still be several dollars whereas a pressed CD can be as low as $1 in bulk or $3 in the smaller batches - not to mention CDR’s are way waaaay cheaper and can cost only pennies.
The CD is definitely dying in popularity but I think it will still be here for quite some time. I still prefer to buy a CD on Amazon for 10-12 bucks for an album I really like. Obviously there’s also the artwork aesthetic as well as additional info that you simply do not get with MP3’s. But sadly, to many this aspect is unimportant. Either way, artists NEED to sell merch live as a form of revenue and CD’s are the perfect medium for that currently and will be for quite some time. The nice thing about flash drives though is that they are small and pocketable. A lot of people, myself included at times in the past, will skip buying a CD live because they have to carry it. In the summer when we’re not wearing jackets with big pockets and such it can be a PITA. I guess an option would be to sell both a CD and a Flash Drive so people have the option? Hmmm… not a bad idea. Though again, the flash drive would cost more.
I’m going to be releasing something soon and was concerned about this, too. Doug did make a very good suggestion to me, and I verified that you can do it on Bandcamp, for one. That’s the inclusion of a pdf file
with an album download, which could include credits, album art, lyrics, additional art - anything you care to include, and you wouldn’t be limited by the size constraints of a cd package.
This from the bandcamp site:
Upload PDF liner note booklets, videos, alternate art… pretty much whatever goodies you like, and we’ll include them in the downloaded album’s zip file.
Hmm, you know what would be cool to include in that? - Some kind of Flash art, like it could be animation, video, Image slideshow, combination of both, etc. I think that would top the static format of CD inserts.