The death of CDs

An interesting article about the music biz at The Root contains this nugget.

According to the latest Nielsen research, only 2.1 percent of the albums released in 2009 sold even 5,000 copies — that’s just 2,050 records out of nearly 100,000, and to fewer people than go to a small liberal arts college.

That sounds about right. I pressed up a thousand copies of my CD (as is pretty much common practice for independent acts.) 300 of them went to the distributor and are, I presume, sitting in a warehouse somewhere. I’ve sold, I dunno…, maybe two or 300, and sent off a hundred or so to radio stations, music reviewers etc. Friends of mine report similar experiences. This leads me to think that most of the CDs that are sold in packages of a thousand remain in their wrapping.

In the late 90s, when people were talking about the advent of digital music, I was one of those who complained about the loss of the physicality of a product — the jay card, the album art etc. But, when I left LA, I burned as many of my CDs as possible onto my iPod, and gave the discs away. I can’t say I miss the physical product at all, and I love having a gigantic music collection in a tiny little box. I’m pretty much at the point where I think musicians should just stop making any physical product, and simply sell the music online (you could sell cards granting download access to the music at live shows.) CDs, cassettes, records and whatnot just don’t make sense anymore.

It’s interesting… I was just talking to a friend of mine who (barely) makes a living doing music about where the money is. It’s certainly not in recordings, and probably never has been aside from those rare exceptions we all know about. He makes his living playing at theme parks, weddings and background music type gigs. It can be a pretty consistent source of income, but obviously has a low ceiling — you’re never going to make $100,000 a year.

The truth is, most of these musical mediocrities polluting the airwaves should just kill themselves to avoid obscuring geniuses such as myself.

1 Response to “The death of CDs”


  1. John Saleeby

    Have I ever gotten around to telling you that I’m the Guitar Player in Maroon 5? Would you like a job as a Gardener?