Are CD's Dead? Blog Home
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Feb. 22, 2012 09:58 AM  

Technology moves ahead relentlessly, carrying us all forward regardless of personal preferences, desire to change, or basic need. I mean, we may really, really want that new tablet that keeps shining enticingly every time we see it on that store display, but do we need it? Probably not. Doesn´t matter, though, because it´ll soon be replacing your laptop as your primary computing accessory. Don´t own a laptop? Still use an abacus to count your beans? Don´t worry, there´s an abacus app you can download for the tablet that works just as well as the real thing for only $4.99.

The technology progress has dragged the music world kicking and screaming along with it many times during the history of the recording industry. From the resistance to go to the easy portability of the cassette tape from the vinyl LP to the extreme lack of desire to change the industry standard to Sony´s new digital CD format instead of the now easy-to-produce analog tapes, the music business has always been slow to adopt a new standard due to entrenched investment in the technology they´re currently using. They spend years figuring out the ways to squeeze every dollar from the current system and you want them to come along and endorse a brand-new, untested format? No thank you. Well, thanks to the great Napster incident in the 90´s, the recording industry was forced to come to the realization that the world of music was changing with the power of the internet and the mp3 format. Despite the industries insistence at copy-protected digital rights management (DRM) formats inserted into the early licensed digital versions of songs, it didn´t take long until the customer complaints grew to where someone was going to get rid of the copy protection and sell unrestricted music to the masses. Thanks to Amazon, who kick-started the DRM-free movement by offering the license-free mp3 format, and finally Apple who removed the copy protection from their aac format, people could finally put their music on whatever device or computer they wanted, just like they can with a CD, and not have to worry about having an internet connection to check the licensing of each song being played.

Does that mean the CD is a dead animal just waiting to be slaughtered? Well, probably 80% of the music I purchase these days is through an mp3 store like Amazon, either buying individual songs or entire albums. When I buy a CD, it´s often times by a band that just blows me away and I like owning the media to store on my shelf (after ripping the songs down to my hard drive) and sometimes play in the car. Most often, I just listen to a collection of music at random from mp3´s stored on a flash drive or an mp3 player of some kind, but sometimes, I like listening to an album laid out in the way the artist wanted me to hear it, and for that, I´ll listen to the CD. I know I could just listen to the mp3´s in track/album order and get the same thing, but for some reason, it´s not the same thing to me. Now, there are a good many reasons why mp3´s and other digital music formats are superior to CD´s. For instance, portability: You can load a song onto a flash drive to play in your car, onto an mp3 player or iPod to jam out to on the go, onto your computer´s hard drive to listen to at work or home, or even in the cloud to listen to wherever you have a Wi-Fi or a 3G connection. There is also the quality: Back in the days, mp3´s were considered inferior in sound quality to a CD because they were compressed too much. These days though, many of the mp3´s you buy are better than CD quality in the bitrate and can sound sometimes noticeably better than a CD (although they make for pretty huge files that way). The mp3´s we sell of our music on our website are all double CD quality in bit rate and can sound better than their CD counterparts (particularly our newer album songs).

So, why even bother with CD´s at all, if the digital music is that much better? Some of it is compatibility. The vast majority of the people in the country don´t have car stereos with a USB port or an iPod connector on them, so shy of burning a music CD on their computer from songs they purchase online, they listen to the CD´s they buy from the store or borrow from their friends/family and never bring back (like a pirate). Some of it is the nostalgia, too, of people liking the music format they´ve used and loved for years and don´t want to let go of. Kind of like those that refuse to give up their vinyl records or 8-tracks. There´s also the issue of backups. Most people just stash their music on their hard drive after purchasing it and never back it up. If their drive craters on them and they don´t have a backup, that music is lost forever and they´ll have to go back and buy it again from the online music dealer. If you have the CD, though, you can always rip the songs back to your hard drive and enjoy the sounds of your favorite bands again.

Then there´s the primary reason that small independent bands like us still produce our albums on CD´s as well as digitally. We sell the majority of our music at our shows. Oh we´re on Amazon and iTunes and the majority of the digital music slinger sites out there, but far and away most of our sales are at our shows where people see us in action and are inspired to pick up some of the music that made them smile. (It could have also been the incessant peddling of our wares from the stage coupled with the guilt people feel when our sales staff looks at them with puppy dog eyes, but I prefer to think the show inspired the purchase) Most people like to have something to look at before they buy it and our CD´s with the goofy album covers and song titles listed on the back are major points in getting people to talk themselves into a purchase. A full-color CD cover is much nicer to look at than a black USB stick with the album title on it. There´s also the whole instant gratification thing. Even if they have a new car stereo with all the bells and whistles on it, you can bet that stereo still has a CD player in it and they can listen to their new CD all the way home from the show. (Hopefully not having a wreck when they hear any of the bonus tracks). In a small way, the CD is more appealing in that the band can actually sign a CD cover as opposed to putting our initials or something on a flash drive. One other factor is also the cost as CD´s are still much cheaper to produce than flash drives and that still makes them better on the bottom line. Sure, they´re not as cheap as going all digital, but we can´t stand on stage at a show and tell everyone to be sure and download our songs when they get back home. We gotta get that sale right then, when the customer is in the right frame of mind and are thinking about it. Granted, I have seen the occasional person pull out their iPhone and download songs of ours right there at our concert from the iTunes store (talk about instant gratification), but it´s still a small percentage of the world out there that thinks along those lines even if they have the technology and a large enough data plan for their phone.

Now, we will continue to offer our complete music collection flash drives at shows for those looking for everything we do and have done as it´s a great way to offer our back catalog of music including our out-of-print albums, and we're exploring offering our new album on flash drives as well, but CD´s are still the king for small bands that don´t have the traditional advertising push that record labels use to drive you the digital stores. We have to make the sales at our shows and CD´s are still the favored way to do it. Even though we offer the digital downloads on our Pirate Music Box, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon and others, they´re more of a convenient nice-to-have to reach people that can´t make it to our appearances. So, the CD may be on a slow downward trend out of our lives, but until we´re all carrying around devices jacked into the cloud and can download whatever we want, when we want, they´re still the best way to sell at a show. Of course, once we reach that point, people won´t even be watching us when they´re at a show; they´ll be watching the live broadcast of our show on the ´net using their virtual reality goggles.

Because it's all for me blog. Me jolly jolly blog.

Well, this pirate likes the old stuff, I still have my records and tapes. and really didn't understand 1/2 of what you wrote. Personally, it's all about the music and sooner or later I will figure out the next step. after all I do have an iPod.....
Posted by Elspeth on Feb. 27, 2012 08:15 PM

Name: Email:
Enter the text from the right:  

(Comments are moderated, so they will not appear immediately on the site)
So You Want to Be a Bilge Pump?
Posted by Jack the Rum Runner
Oct. 04, 2017 01:40 PM3 comments
Buffalo Soldiers
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 02, 2016 02:13 PM0 comments
The New Guy Is Now an Old Guy
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 19, 2015 11:09 AM2 comments
The Fun of Music-making
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Oct. 02, 2015 10:03 AM1 comment
Happy Talk Like a Pirate Day, Ya Lugs!
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Sep. 16, 2015 04:36 PM1 comment
Taylor Swift vs Spotify and Support of Musicians (Independent or Not)
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 25, 2014 02:55 PM2 comments
Book review: Journey to Jazzland
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Oct. 22, 2014 01:46 PM1 comment
How do you make your first CD? We Don't Know!
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Oct. 07, 2014 11:50 AM0 comments
The Ups and Downs and Downs of Recording an Album
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 20, 2014 10:29 AM0 comments
You Got Your Islands in My Highlands!
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Oct. 15, 2013 01:33 PM0 comments
More For Moore... for Sure
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jul. 18, 2013 05:42 PM1 comment
The Bilge Pumps be.. on an Idi-odys-sey
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 12, 2012 09:18 AM1 comment
Tales from the Road - OKC
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
May. 30, 2012 06:02 PM1 comment
Are CD's Dead?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Feb. 22, 2012 09:58 AM1 comment
Small Business, Big Deal
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 30, 2011 10:04 AM2 comments
Tales from the Road - Florida
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 17, 2011 10:05 AM0 comments
CD or not CD?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Apr. 21, 2011 12:27 PM0 comments
It's Beginning to Reek a Lot Like Christmas
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 04, 2010 10:41 AM1 comment
A Tale of Tails
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Apr. 08, 2010 11:37 AM6 comments
Tales from the Road - Norman
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 17, 2010 08:08 AM4 comments
Tales from the Road - Louisiana
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 17, 2009 03:02 PM4 comments
The Bilge Pumps and TRF
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 09, 2009 11:33 AM7 comments
A New Pirate Festival
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Aug. 10, 2009 03:57 PM8 comments
A Cyber-Wake for Kailyn Dammit
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
May. 05, 2009 10:29 AM40 comments
The Renaissance Economy
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 11, 2009 04:17 PM7 comments
Making a DVD
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 02, 2008 05:11 PM3 comments
Jousting with Umbrellas
Posted by Harvey the Corpsman
Oct. 09, 2008 05:39 PM27 comments
There's Nothing Like a Good Claw Game
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 16, 2008 06:09 PM3 comments
My Life as a Bilge Pump (or I hate Squeegy)
Posted by Sharkbait Simon the Scapegoat
Jun. 11, 2008 09:09 AM10 comments
A Tradition Comes to an End (for now)
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jun. 06, 2008 09:47 AM2 comments
Gas and the Price of Being a Rennie
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
May. 05, 2008 02:28 PM3 comments
OU Medieval Fair
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Apr. 14, 2008 10:43 AM7 comments
New Renaissance Festivals
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 26, 2008 02:05 PM1 comment
Best Movie Fights
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Mar. 04, 2008 10:37 AM9 comments
Why don't the Bilge Pumps perform in Muskogee any more?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Feb. 04, 2008 04:13 PM14 comments
Mardi Gras Downer
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jan. 22, 2008 09:58 AM2 comments
The Beginning of the Bilge Pumps
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Jan. 11, 2008 11:35 AM3 comments
What happened to Celtic Music Pubs in Dallas?
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 27, 2007 11:27 AM2 comments
Stage Act vs Musicians
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 18, 2007 07:54 AM9 comments
A Pirate No More
Posted by Galleon O'Galleon the Pilot
Dec. 11, 2007 09:26 AM14 comments
The Pub Sing
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Dec. 03, 2007 03:56 PM1 comment
This year at TRF and the "No Request Show"
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 27, 2007 10:11 AM9 comments
The First Blog
Posted by Maroon the Shantyman
Nov. 14, 2007 11:49 AM0 comments

For booking information contact Craig Lutke at:
214-415-9563 or by e-mail at

| Home | Ships List | Nautical News | Press & Promo | Songs of the Sea | Treasure Island | Pirate Music Box | Pirate Picture Box |
| Scheduled Voyages | Past Landings | Friendly Ports | Buccaneers Blog | Guestbook | Mailing List |