Just make a few folds and create a paper CD case.

Paper CD Case – video powered by Metacafe

I love this video. I gave up on plastic CD cases a long time ago. In the rare moment I need to give someone an actual CD I use the paper envelopes you can buy. Well low and behold I can just fold my own pretty easily!

The creators of the above video also have a bookmarklet you can use that will generate and print artwork on the paper if you so choose (I don’t). More info: liquidmongoose.com

“Liquid Mongoose is proud to announce its first project for general release: Paper Case. The Paper Case project allows you to print a fold-able piece of paper into a CD or DVD case, using the content of the internet as your album art or movie cover. Currently, it supports music album printing on music.aol.com and movie cover printing on Netflix. Support for Picasa Web Albums is coming soon for your picture CDs and DVDs.” – liquidmongoose.com

via webware

Should we be collecting Audiophile Releases?

The all things strange and weird Boing Boing blog had an interesting article yesterday talking about Audiophile recordings. SACD, DVD-A, and 5:1 surround re-releases could all be going the way of the Dodo bird. Heck even CDs are on their way out. Are we going to be left with only one option? The craptastic MP3?

I’ve personally never heard an SACD (Super Audio Compact Disc) or DVD-A but I do know my old vinyl collection sounds superior to my MP3s. Surely we can’t let all our high quality options disappear. I always assumed that when broadband adoption and hard drive space became readily available we would see online music retailers offer lossless formats. So far that hasn’t happened.

“Super Audio CD (SACD) is a read-only optical audio disc format that can provide higher fidelity digital audio reproduction than the Red Book audio CD. Introduced in 1999, it was developed by Sony and Philips Electronics, the same companies that created the Compact Disc. SACD is in a format war with DVD-Audio, but neither format has managed to replace regular audio CDs.” – Wikipedia.org

Richard Metzger over at Boing Boing thinks we should run out and start collecting SACD and DVD-A’s. Personally I don’t think we should encourage more plastic production. We should demand higher quality digital downloads. There are only a few options available today. MusicGiants.com offers “High Definition Music Collections”.

“MusicGiants, the leader in high definition entertainment, aims to deliver the highest quality entertainment experience possible. Still the only digital music service licensed in HD from all of the major music labels…” – MusicGiants.com

We really need iTunes and Amazon to get on board otherwise large portions of the human’s music canon will end up only available in MP3 format. What other online shops sell high quality music downloads?

Check out the Boing Boing article: Audiophile Releases… Get ‘Em While You Can

Createspace by Amazon for POD CD manufacturing.

When MP3 sales and distribution took off many artists broke the chain between themselves and greedy record labels. All a band needs is music, a little artwork and initiative to get their music onto iTunes, Amazon or Beatport. But what about your fans who still want Compact Discs? In the past you would have to manufacture a minimum of 100+ units. After spending about at least $300 (eg. Discmakers Short-Run) you would still have to deal with fulfillment to your customers (shipping, tax, returns).

Createspace which is owned by Amazon.com has launched a print on demand (POD) service for CDs. You sign up at Createspace.com, send them your music (snail mail only), artwork, set the price for the CD and viola it’s for sale at Amazon.com. Of course Amazon takes a cut: $4.95 fixed charge per CD and either 15% of the total price if you sell the CD via your own E-store or 45% if it sells from Amazon.com. So for example, if I send Createspace an album/CD and want it to sell for $21.95 and someone buys the CD at Amazon.com I will receive: $4.95 $7.11.

You will make less net profit than if you manufactured and sold your own CDs and more profit than you would by any major label record deal. A key advantage is if it turns out that only five people buy your CD you don’t loose the money you spent manufacturing 100 copies. If it turns out you have a lot more fans than you thought and you get 3000 people buying your CD you don’t have worry about getting more manufactured and then running to the post office a few hundred times!

Createspace allows you to buy copies for yourself at the wholesale price of $4.95. If you want more than 50 units the price per unit goes down.

So what are the disadvantages? As of today Createspace only gets your album on Amazon.com not any of their international sites such as Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.fr. Your international fans will have to buy the CD as an import. This is a big issue for me as more of my fans are based in Europe. Createspace discs are burned onto CD-Rs. The back of the CD maybe tinted Green or Blue. I am not 100% sure about this so I emailed Createspace to find out. I will update this post with whatever answer they give me. Does it matter?

You could argue that record stores won’t stock POD (print to order) CDs but let’s face some facts here: Soon there won’t be any brick and mortar record stores!

A nice aside is you can opt into MP3 sales and your album will appear in the Amazon MP3 section. Lastly, I would like to get a bit liberal on you and point out that manufacturing only what we need will help save the earth. What better reason do you need?

Update: I heard back from Createspace concerning the backside color of the CD-Rs. Here’s what they said: “Thank yo for contacting us regarding our products and services. The backs of the CDs are silver and blue.  We are working on producing a uniform product that consists of silver back only, however at this time we are producing both types.” – CreateSpace Member Services

photo credit: Silus Grok

Apple to introduce interactive albums.

One of the things I miss the most about vinyl records is the nice large artwork, inner sleeves and lyric sheets they came with. Compact Disc booklets forced us into reading lyrics in font sizes only really meant for legal fine print. When the MP3 took over on the original iPod we were left with nothing to look at all.

I’ve always said that technology will save us. Man will end up using solar power, curing cancer and inhabiting other planets. Technology will also bring back album art. Next month Apple will release an interactive album application for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The application will add artwork, lyrics and behind the scenes goodies to music.

“The new app also highlights an important point: CDs may lose one of the advantages they have clung to in their losing fight against digital downloads. Now that iTunes albums will offer the extras already found in CDs, the latter is quickly becoming even more irrelevant.” – TechCrunch

I know your thinking that, “Oh wow that’s nice but an iPhone is only 2.5 x 4.5 inches. That’s way smaller than my old 12″ albums!” You know where I’m going with this right? Time and tech will fix this issue too. Surely you can bet multi-touch tablet computers with large screens and nice speakers will be in our hands within 48 months. If someone makes a 12″ square tablet my credit card is done for! I can imagine tablet computers will get as thin as old 12″s too.

I hope independent artists will have a way to add their own interactive album artwork. Tunecore are you working on procuring that deal for us? So musician friends it’s time to start brushing up on your Photoshop skills!

photo credit: ntr23

via MusicWeek

Photos from Out of Line Music – Berlin Store.

Out of Line Music - Berlin Store

For superfans of music there is still no better medium than a good old fashion CD. You get the highest quality recording in a format that will last long beyond any hard drive. You also get artwork you can hold in your hand. And if your a real fan of an artist your going to need a poster for your wall, some rock pins to wear on your clothes, some stickers for your car and a high def video to play at your house parties. And if you want the maximum buying “rush” put on your going out clothes and head to a real record store. Humans were once hunter gatherer’s and hunting for new, unique, rare records is second nature to us. It feels good, much better than clicking buy now at Amazon.com

If you follow my music career you know I am on a label called Out of Line. They are one of the big EBM and Alternative/goth labels today. They run a good business, make money and promote their artists nicely. Some of the other artists on Out of Line include Blut Engel, And One, Hocio, and Combichrist. But did you know they also have a record store in Berlin? If your in Germany’s Hauptstadt head over and check it out:

Lychener Str. 18, 10437 Berlin – Prenzlauer Berg

Please click here to enjoy the full photo set from Out of Line Music’s record shop. Please note I put a Creative Commons license on these images so feel free to use them as long as you link back to this article.