Digital single formats

In this week’s column, http://www.straightdope.com/columns/991015.html , Cecil says:

A 10-year-old cheapo stereo set of mine has a CD player touted as being able to play both “CD Albums and Singles”. Inside the vertical CD tray, there’s a little orange plastic ring designed to pop out and surround a smaller 3-inch-diameter disc of some sort (it stays out of the way if a normal 5.5" CD is inserted).

Did anybody use this 3" CD Single format? In Japan or Hong Kong, maybe?


Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

I think I had the exact same CD player, and I have seen exactly two of those little CDs in my life. Both were free, promotional gimmicks that my brother found in a case of soda. He was always borrowing my radio to play them on, too, because they wouldn’t work in anything else.


Laugh hard; it’s a long way to the bank.

Those mini-CD’s seem to be much more popular in Japan. I have seen many of them at conventions for Japanese Animation and in Japanese music stores.

I have a 6 disk cartrage CD player and I remember that I could buy the ‘single’ cd cartrage as the main cartrage could not accominatd it. also I saw a few CD ‘singles’ at one time but they seamed to go the way of the dinasore.
But Cecil (you bum who never answers any of my questions and didn’t come to help me in the ‘women get sick more often then men’ debate. you said [For all today’s digital technology, the recording industry has yet to come up with a single-song format to equal the 45. ]
which may be true but the mp3 format seams poised to take the thrown away from the 45’s even w/o total support from the record co.

I don’t see what the point to a singles version of a CD would be. I suppose a CD singles player would be smaller, but would you really buy a player that only plays singles? CDs are already so cheap (the CDs themselves, that is, not the albums recorded on them) that there isn’t much economic incentive to save money by making a smaller, cheaper, version. Is there some advantage to singles that I’m missing?

I suspect that CD singles sounded like a good idea 10-15 years ago, when CDs were more expensive to manufacture. Nowadays, if a record company released a CD single, they’d save a few pennies per disc on the CD itself (if that–they might actually have to pay more, because they’d be using unusual equipment), and they’d incur the same distribution and printing costs, but they’d be expected to charge less. Better to release a full-sized CD with just two songs, and charge less.

My wife points out that they’re cute, though.

Something like Sony’s
Memory Sticks (a ROM version so it’s cheaper) could be nice for singles. Too easy to lose, though.

CD’s ARE sold as ‘singles’, indeed there is usually a full double-sided tray area set aside in most CD stores for ‘singles’. The only one I ever bought was Madonna’s hit from Evita: You Must Love Me.

Ah yes, the one song from the movie Evita that wasn’t in either of its live stage versions.

Hey my CD rom drive has the single indent!!!

The 3’’ CD single was used in the United States by several record companies. Rhino Records had a series of 3’’ CD singles with older artists, and even some newer songs came out on the 3’’ CD single format.

It was inconvenient because on the players with a CD “tray” you had to fit the 3’’ CD single onto an adapter to be able to play it. I have 4 or 5 of those 3’’ singles.

Nowadays, CD “singles” are released on regular-size CD’s containing only 1 or two songs (or 5 different “remixes” of the same song.)

C. Adams is right when he says

Because no other format has yet had as wide a distribution as the 45 rpm vinyl record.


J’ai assez vécu pour voir que différence engendre haine.
Henri B. Stendhal

The Ryan wrote:

Actually, Sony had (I think this was about 8-10 years ago) a portable CD player designed specifically for CD singles. It was about the size of a modern, portable Minidisc player, but a bit thicker. It could play full-sized CDs as well, but to do that the spindle had to move to a corner of the case, and most of the CD stuck out while it was playing. And no, I don’t think it sold that well.

DSYoungEsq
Member posted 10-19-1999 08:41 AM

I believe you have misunderstood. We’re not talking about full length CDs that happen to have only one song on them but a special CD that is capable of holding only one song.

The Ryan said
“I believe you have misunderstood. We’re not talking about full length CDs that happen to have only one song on them but a special CD that is capable of holding only one song.”

Why bother with a one song cd. The cd singles that are going around now days are much better than that. Besides who will want to pay $2.00 for a short version of a popular song. Sell them at $0.50 then maybe I’ll buy em.

As Arnold Winkelried said
“Nowadays, CD “singles” are released on regular-size CD’s containing only 1 or two songs (or 5 different “remixes” of the same song.)”

True except these cd singles are more like the 12inch vinyl records singles. Which themselves were much better than the 45 because they offered more for a lower price compare to an album. Besides not all of them offer only remixes, but also rare cuts, or live preformances that you will not find anywhere. This the same for the cd singles Now days including video, and other features you can use on your computer CD rom player.

Very often you can find them for $1.99. Check with K-mart, and Walmart besides the big music chains. I suggest you buy two of the same if you can. Because they are becoming collectors items, and you can resale them at a later time. Because their value goes up. Since they do become rare items.

From what I seen so far black artist don’t offer much in music for their cd singles. Just the radio edit also another song usually a lame filler song, or a short remix.

Another thing that is out. Which sucks, is small sample of songs from the album. Avoid those. Why pay to sample the music when you can go online and hear the same amount for free.

I still have a few 3" cd’s from the 80’s. If you didn’t have a tray cd player with the indentation, then you had to get these plastic adapters which fit around the cd’s. I even have a 3" cd which came with the adapter so it was packaged in a 5" jewel case.

As far as why you would buy a single as opposed to the album, it depends on the music. Back in the day, music was much more single-oriented with albums just being an amalgamation of these singles (and in many cases, many of the singles did not appear on any album). Given how much filler is slapped onto to albums (both then and now), singles are worth buying, especially for those one hit wonders.

The thing I always love about soul and r&b singles from the 60’s/70’s was how they were sometimes split into 2 parts, part 1 being the main song with part 2 being an extended jam (the whole thing couldn’t fit on one side of a 7" which is why it was split into two). Reissues of this stuff on CD nowadays sometimes merge these parts but some keep them in their split form.

Also, odd music formats are a bit more common in the indie scene. Since the pressings are of much smaller quantities (not mass market) and to make the items more distinctive (and therefore collectible), such formats as the 10" record, 5" record and the one sided 12" record are not uncommon.

In the computer world, I’ve been seeing more of those business card CD-ROMS. Basically, it’s a 3" CD which is chopped off on two edges to make it somewhat rectangular shaped. Check out www.shapecd.com for an example.

I have a few of these. They seem to be known as CD^3 (CD to the power of 3). They all have 3 songs on them. One from Denon and one from Artista. I actually recently recieved an AOL 4.0 CD on one. It was in an AOL 4.0 Gold pack, the usual. Still have it.

“jiggles” writes:

Actually I thought the 10" ‘EP’ format predated the indie-collectible market, hence Aerosmith’s innuendo-laden song “Big Ten Inch Record”. I’ve also heard of 8" and 11" vinyl records; I have yet to hear of anyone venturing into fractional inch sizes, though.

I also wanted to point out that since many indie 7" vinyl records have more than one song on each side and play at 33 1/3 rpm, they can’t usefully be referred to as either ‘singles’ or ‘45s’, which is why they’re mostly called ‘7"s’ now. (But people still sometimes use ‘b/w’ when listing the songs on a 7".) ‘12"’, however, usually refers to an EP or single-with-remixes, often played at 45 rpm; a 12" vinyl album that is meant to be an album is usually still called an ‘LP’. See, for example, http://www.midheaven.com/freight.html for a big list of formats of indie records.

–Doug