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CDs are pretty much dead... Long Live USB?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by RadioactiveGuy4, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. RadioactiveGuy4

    RadioactiveGuy4 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2011
    New Orleans
    Hey Guys,

    I'm curious to see if any of you have stopped using CDs to sell/distribute your music and have moved to USB Flash Drives.

    I'm looking into this for my band and I was wondering if any of you had any experience with ordering them as well as how they went over with you fans.

  2. juancaminos

    juancaminos Supporting Member

    May 30, 2003
    USA, Phoenix, AZ
    I'm curious about the format. I see adverisments for photo sticks and music sticks. What makes them any different than standard USB Flash Drive sticks? A few years ago we bought cheap USB sticks for each band member with all of our songs on them. When it was time to learn new songs we would call them back for an update. It worked great. We would actual download every viable version we couls find of each song to help determine what our version direction might be. We also sold cd's but as the OP says no one uses them anymore. So what is the selling point of photo and music sticks? I hope this isn't stealing or bushwacking the thread, I think it's relevant.
  3. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    I ripped all mine to my PC and put everything I want on flashcards for my car. And gave all the CD's to Goodwill. I have more than 2,000 songs on individual flashcards that work great. heck, my car doesn't even have a CD player in it. it's not standard
  4. AaronVonRock


    Feb 22, 2013
    For those dwindling few who still want to pay for a physical music format, I see many bands and labels including a card with a download code with the CD purchase.

    I've heard of bands selling USBs but have never actually seen it in the wild. Seems like a download card would be a better option along with a piece of merchandise like a sticker, patch, button or something.
    ElGoodo, pie_man_25, Rickter and 5 others like this.
  5. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    bottom line is that except for the very top .01% of artists/bands, there is pretty much no money to be made in music any longer. You can have hit songs now and still qualify for foodstamps. That being said, its become cheaper than ever to make music - studios no longer really required. And more music is being now than ever. It's just a 200-foot dive into a glass of water if you think you're going to make a really comfortable living from it. there's even less money in downloads than there was in CDs. The whole industry is turning into something that is very wide, very varied in style and creativity, but something that's done more out of passion than logically to make yourself a long-term living
    J_Bass, PauFerro, Spectrum and 12 others like this.
  6. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav SUSPENDED Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Reel to Reel is dead. Long Live 8 Track!
    8 Track is dead. Long Live Cassettes!
    Cassettes are dead. Long Live CDs!
    CDs are dead. Long Live USB!
  7. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    here's the difference. Cassettes hurt vinyl sales because you could copy songs. CDs overcame them, but technology made sharing/stealing music for free simpler. USB/downloads make it not only less likely to make money but even easier to steal/share. What's next? An ever dwindling market for selling music. The last time music was really "safe" and widely profitable was when the only medium was vinyl/wax, except for a brief period when people went bonkers for CDs...before Napster heralded the end to them as well.
    SpyderX, Aqualung60, justjake and 2 others like this.
  8. Beetfarm615


    Feb 15, 2017
    I’m not sure any physical media is still viable. Unless you’re U2 or Jack White releasing things on vinyl.
  9. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    i buy my music online, and unless it's a cd that includes online mp3s, i just buy mp3 download. no flash drives or other physical stuff for me.
    Rickter, twelvetrombones and Kriegs like this.
  10. RadioactiveGuy4

    RadioactiveGuy4 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2011
    New Orleans
    Thanks for all the replies.

    I’m not concerned with making money on these. They would be just for giving out our music in a tangible form. That why I wanted to hear if other had used it and if so what service did they use.

    Out philosophy is to get the music out to people which will draw them to shows.

    T-shirts with a cool design are still the best merch for making money. I’m not questioning that.
    Plucky The Bassist likes this.
  11. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    For band use, we share a Google drive. I think USB drives are the current thing but downloads are the way to go. Just have folks provide their email and send them a link.
    Rickter and SactoBass like this.
  12. friskinator

    friskinator Supporting Member

    Apr 5, 2007
    Montreal, QC
    It depends on your band's audience demographic. If they're under 30, they won't want to bother with taking a USB home and transferring the files.
    PauFerro, jmone, kodiakblair and 3 others like this.
  13. Kriegs

    Kriegs Peace Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2018
    MA/ RI area
    Digital distribution no longer requires physical media. It's been that way for quite some time :thumbsup:

    As an aside, there is no way in heck I am going to put a USB storage device of unknown origin/ content into any of my PCs/ devices. I've been a software engineer for 25 years and have seen what the horror shows that occur when folks don't listen to that little voice in their head when it asks "Should I really trust this device?" :wideyed:
  14. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    I was just about to say this. I mostly use Linux and MacOS these days so I don't have to worry quite as much, but anyone running Windows is taking a huge risk sticking a random USB drive in their computer.

    If I wanted something to hand out to fans other than a CD I'd probably make business cards or some kind of merch with a link to download or stream the music. That link could be the band's website or facebook page, but also soundcloud or youtube or whatever. I think you can also sell cards with individual download codes for services like iTunes, though I've never done it.
    Kriegs likes this.
  15. we have had lots of success with vinyl but nothing else really sells. we have sold out of 3 of 4 vinyl releases and the 4th is getting close to selling out. it is rare that anyone asks for CD and when they do we give them a download card.
    Kriegs likes this.
  16. RadioactiveGuy4

    RadioactiveGuy4 Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2011
    New Orleans
    I had not given this aspect much thought. I didn’t think about being on the other side of the table and some one handing me a USB and say that it was cool to plug into my computer. How would I know there was nothing malicious (intentional or not) on there

    I had also thought about download cards and just having our logo printed on them. Perhaps that’s the way to go after all.
    Kriegs likes this.
  17. dxb


    Dec 25, 2016
    I get most of my music through digital downloads or online streaming but I still buy CDs on occasion to support bands I like. The format is quickly becoming obsolete though. Many people use a tablet or phone as their main computing device and even desktop PCs and laptops rarely include optical drives any more.

    I do still prefer the uncompressed sound quality of a properly mastered CD since its better than what you typically get online, but its certainly not as convenient. And in all honesty, when I buy a CD I just rip the music to my computer then set it on a shelf and never touch it again.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2018
  18. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Just about everyone gets their music online now. Physical mediums are just for collectors at this point and super fans. Like vinyl releases. Just hand people a card with where to find your music. Make sure your music is on popular steaming platforms or some sort of buy to download websites.
  19. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    Flash drives cost more than pressing CDs, don't they? Are there places where you can buy small drives in bulk cheap?

    One of my bands has homemade CD-Rs that we offer free at gigs. Maybe 1 or 2 get taken home. If you're not charging for it anyway, download cards are the way to go.
    PlatoFunFactory likes this.
  20. mpdd

    mpdd neoconceptualist

    Mar 24, 2010
    Unless it's a custom usb thumb that looks like a vintage pez dispenser I'm not sure how hip it could be.
    pcake, Oddly and Peteyboy like this.

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