August 23, 2011

I'll Hold that Scratch Against You

I'd love a sturdier case, J Lo
Compact discs used to be cutting edge (even though they're round). Today they are on their way to being dusty memorabilia like records, or possibly just rubbish like cassettes. iTunes has exploded while CD sections in stores continue to shrink. Regardless, I have been a vocal supporter of physical CDs. But if CDs are going to survive better than Rick Springfield cassettes, the production companies need to do something other than gripe at slumping sales.

1. What's up with the floppy CD sleeves for new albums from such popular artists as Maroon 5, J Lo and Britney Spears? If I'm still paying $12 for an album, give me that hearty plastic case with the FBI-strength stretch wrap. The case may crack after one drop and break after the second, but at least I can pull the CD out while driving. I want the illusion that some of my money goes toward the casing.

Fatale scratches
2. Where's the scratch-resistant technology? Let's try a little harder! An iPod can hold thousands of songs in the palm of my hand, yet if a CD touches a grain of salt on the counter or goes back into that flimsy paper case the wrong way, Ms. Spears goes into stuttering, unintended remix mode. Some may say that my copy of Femme Fatale has been played excessively (it's only "excessive" if you include play counts on my iPod), but I've also handled that CD with more care than any orphaned baby duckling would need. Thank goodness mother nature is still producing heartier breeds than Sony Music's compact discs. 

3. Lower CD prices so people will still pay for those crummy tracks we all skip. Every album has at least one dud, and now that we can listen to samples of any track of any album before we buy, why would I want to pay for tracks that just give my index finger exercise? But if CD prices are lower than the cost of albums on iTunes, I'd buy more albums and tolerate skipping a few snoozers. 
At least give me an import

4. If CD prices are going to stay on par with iTunes, give me a little something extra in that physical CD case. I did brave the traffic, brave the parking, brave the heat and brave the customers stocking up on electronics like food before a hurricane, so I'd at least like a "bonus poster" that unfolds to be an 8 X 10. I've appreciated this reward from Enrique, Britney and even floppy case J Lo in recent albums. Keep 'em coming, especially if they one day become actual poster size. 

So I say to the big wigs (and little ones) at the record companies, step up your game with the physical CD! Sure, they probably won't appeal to the tweens (unless a life size Justin Beiber gets crammed in there), but at least grandma still thinks CDs are new and hip. And don't turn your backs on loyal album buyers (ahem) by making products that scratch easily. I'm apparently now so "old school" when I rock a CD (iTunes is only 10 years old, give me a break), but there's still something charming about holding that physical album of your favorite artist, enjoying the latest airbrushed and new-weave look, clawing and biting at the vacuum-sealed plastic and skipping at least one track that sounds lame within 10 seconds. All I ask is that they not be so scratch-prone anymore. It's 2011, and I didn't pay for Britney with Tourette's. 

1 comment:

  1. My CDs are in the closet along with my LPs. The only use my stereo gets these days is when I plug my itunes playlist into it so i can listen without headphones.