[Dixielandjazz] Cardboard or Jewell Box CD

lrg4003 at aol.com lrg4003 at aol.com
Mon Aug 10 19:44:49 PDT 2009

Bob Ringwald wrote: 
"There is an old saying in the food biz, "People taste with their eyes."  I suspect it is the same in the music biz." 

Here's a perspective from 40 years in marketing and advertising (and music buying and playing).

First, the primary driver on CD sales is not whether the package is plastic or cardboard.  That's not the selling point for purchasers.  No one goes out actively looking for one type of CD package over another.  You're not buying it for your storage shelf, you're buying it for your ears.

The key is what is conveyed in the art and information on the package.

Does the cover art look amateurish or professional?  Does it give enough information to help someone make a buying decision, particularly on a group with which the buyer may be unfamiliar?

And while that "taste with the eyes" initially prompts someone to pick up a CD, it's the information on the front and back that truly makes the difference.  The tune list, length of CD, the featured players, background of the band, any reviews, combined with the price point---all drive the final buying decision.

So many bands---often for budget reasons---produce crappy package design that screams home made and promotes the assumption is that either the music or the recording quality will be at the same level.

Cardboard covers have  become more accepted, for both cost and environmental reasons, and many are now constructed in such a way the the edges can be read on 
a shelf.  

It will likely become a moot point for all of us who have stacks of vinyl, cassettes and now CD's laying around---last year 33% of all music was purchased via download and the percentage is increasing every year.

But, in the meantime, my recommendation would be----package inexpensively to keep your cost down or to increase your margin, but don’t scrimp on the design and the information you offer to convince them that your CD is worth the money you're asking for it.  

That’s what people are tasting---not the plastic or the cardboard on which the art appears.  

One opinion.  From KC Clarinet.

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