Thursday, January 29, 2009

Is Deluxe Packaging The Only Way To Sell Physical CDs?

Near the end of 2008, I made two excellent CD purchases. The first being AC/DC’s stellar Black Ice. The other was Hinder’s amazing Take It To The Limit. The one thing that both of these CDs had in common were that they both came in deluxe packaging. The way these CDs were packaged got me thinking. How many new CDs have come in deluxe packaging or with exclusive bonus tracks?

The Hinder CD had a bonus DVD on the recording of their new disc. It also included bonus tracks not available anywhere else. Best Buy also had their own version that had bonus tracks different from the version I purchased. It had 6 different songs than the one I paid for. That’s a lot of songs! It almost made me buy the CD again, just to hear the songs that I didn’t have. I talked myself out of it, but that doesn’t mean it won’t show up on my stereo in the near future.

Black Ice came in a nice heavy hardcover book packaging with exclusive extra photos. No extra songs or a DVD, but shipping from their website was free and the deluxe packaging is really nice. It looks like a mini book.

My question for the day is this: Is deluxe packaging the wave of the future? With everyone downloading songs/albums from the internet (legally or illegally), there are less people buying physical CDs. Last summer, Nine Inch Nails gave away their CD over their website, but they released a special, limited edition, deluxe version to retailers, if people wanted to purchase it. A lot of people bought the physical version, even some of those who had downloaded the disc already.

The IPod is more popular than ever, and more and more people are learning how to download tunes, pop them on their IPod, and move on. Less space filled with storing CDs, instant gratification, your entire collection on one small device, etc. Personally, I love the physical CD. I love the smell of a new CD when it’s first opened. I love to hold the booklet in my hand, read the lyrics, learn about where the album was recorded, who produced it, and who played on it. You don’t get that with downloaded discs. That only comes when you physically hold the disc in your hand.

I also love deluxe packaging, bonus DVDs, and bonus songs, but I may be in the minority. Is this the only way record companies are going to be able to entice people to purchase a physical CD? Gene Simmons says that the record industry is dead, and thus, that must mean CDs are dead. I disagree. While I do agree that CDs are slowly going the way of the cassette tape, and the 8-track before it, I don’t think that CDs are dead yet.

These may have quite a bit of shelf life left in them, but eventually, everything evolves. At one time people thought records were the be all end all. Then they thought cassette tapes were it. Then CDs. Now the MP3. Who knows what the future will bring? But, is this the only way people will spend cash on a CD anymore? Do they need to have a deluxe package/bonus tracks? Will more bands/record companies begin to offer this? Will more people buy the actual CD if it comes in a deluxe package? Would you?

Comments are open. Feel free to post some.

1 comment:

Christine said...

Ryan- I like the look and content of your blog. Have fun with it and rock on!