In the past decade the market has changed from goods to streaming or downloads but there are a number of people who still prefer CDs. I am not sure making a bulk order of CDs is worthwhile these days. I used to order a few thousand CDs and store them in my Garage. Some would be sent off to a CD-distributor, we would take boxes on the road with us, and sometimes I would sell them directly, stuffing the CDs in envelopes and taking them to the Post Office.
What are the options? Do they have to be CDs or can they be flash drives, like I did with Fete? But flash drives drives don’t fit into a CD player, so for some people that won’t be satisfactory.
Perhaps I can use a company that burns and ships individual CDs. I might have to find a company for each continent or the cost of shipping will be too high. I found that prices for the US are quite reasonable. About $9 per CD and about $4 for shipping via First Class Mail. The total price would have to be about $20 (which includes shipping) so that I can get paid the equivalent of an album download.
Another option would be for fans of CDs to buy my album from Bandcamp, then select .WAV as the audio file format to be downloaded, and then burn a CD themselves. A CD burner can be had for about $30 and some CD-burning software is available for free. I could create a PDF that can be printed and added to the homemade CD. Advantage: no shipping cost and lower carbon footprint. I admit I also like the idea of co-creating the CD, with you actually making the hardcopy.
If we look at the environmental cost, music files stored and played on the computer or a DAP (digital audio player) probably has the lowest impact. Next would be burning CDs in the comfort of your home and then ordering individual CDs shipped from a fulfillment center.
There is yet another option. I think part of the allure of the CD is the booklet and packaging. I could design a booklet to go with an album of download files. It could have any shape and size since it doesn’t need to fit into a CD package. It could be larger. Remember how much fun LP sleeves were!?!? A small book could also contain lots more detail about the recording process, for those who are interested in that sort of thing. There would be space for writing about the album and about individual tracks and, of course, space for photos. As with the on-demand CDs I think I could find a printer that prints books on demand and ships them out.
Does any of this sound good to you? If nothing but an official CD package will do, I could order smaller runs made, perhaps of 50-100 CDs. But shipping costs will be high, easily $30 to Australia/New Zealand and not much less to Europe, and lately I am wondering about the reliability, too.