The Rules for CDs

Okay, record labels, gather round. Take notes. Here’s what I want out of your CDs from now on. You guys are busy bitching about mp3s and piracy and crap, and I’m here to tell you that I still buy CDs, not out of any love for you dinosaurs, but because giving an artist a fraction of a cent is still better than nothing, I guess.

But there’s some things I want out of your CDs.

First, I want lyrics. I don’t care if they don’t make sense, I don’t care if they’re stupid, I want them. Once you have lyrics, I don’t care whatever else you put in the little cover booklet. Put pictures by whatever artist the lead singer currently likes, silly photos of the band, whatever, but I want the lyrics.

Also, these booklets should be booklets. A single square slip of paper will not cut it.

Secondly, I want a track listing on the back of the CD with song times. I want to know up front if this thing is only 27 minutes long.

But thirdly, and most importantly, CLEARLY LABEL THE DISK ITSELF. I own several CDs. My player holds five at a time. Don’t make me have to figure out which one is the solid blue one with no writing on it. Or which is the one that’s silver, with teeny tiny little writing around the hole (I’m looking at YOU, Mr. Gabriel.)

And finally, as a little PS, when I am holding the CD so that I’m looking at the spine, and the cover is on top, the words on the spine should be right side up.

Work with me, people. Yeah, I’m pretty damn anal about this, I suppose, but am I really asking for a lot here? If you want me to buy CDs (and believe me, I want to buy CDs) then don’t make them tick me off.

That is all.


Right on!

Most of that stuff is decisionmaking done by the artists or the designers they hire, and the labels get about as much say in it as they do what hairstyle the band wears on the back cover photo. Usually.

And maybe stop making them cost so damn much?

Doesn’t make any difference to me. The rules are still the rules.

Re: The Spine Thing.

One of the Big Pains shopping for CDs is that they are not stored on end but right side up. If they stored them on end, then you could quickly glance through to see if they had something interesting (thus furthering Impulse Buying). This is especially true of the bargain/cutout bins where things aren’t sorted. But if they did that, then when you flip to the CD, you’ll see the back cover facing you. (It’s wrong on both sides, at least if they had it right on one side, they could be put them in bins with the front cover facing you but maybe left side down instead of up.

I’ve set my default CD-label template to fix this, BTW.

Oooh, can I add one?

Use standard sized jewel cases. If making a cutting edge case design with some alternative material such as cardboard or metal, make the case the same exact size as the standard jewel case. Lots of people use specially designed racks/shelves/what have you to store their cds, and anything out of spec isn’t going to fit, and as a result, all that great cover art will be thrown away and the person is just going to stick the cd in to an empty jewel case.

Here’s another one: Don’t EVER stick a promotional sticker to the jewel case, inside the plastic wrapper.

And I have a personal desire for track listings on the CD booklet. But that’s mainly because I pull all the booklets and keep them in a binder, so it’s more convenient for me.

Ooo! Ooo! I have one:

  • Not only does the actual CD itself have to be clearly labelled, but the label must include:

> Artist
> Album name
> A numbered track list - if the darn CD has 27 cuts on it, I want to look quickly, see that “Heroes” is track 14 and punch that in accordingly - without having to manually count down!!!

That is all.

Enough with the cardboard envelopes instead of jewel cases! Argh! A cardboard envelope is not an acceptable CD storage device. It’s too hard to get the disk out without smudging it, in addition to previous complaints about non-standard packaging that does not fit in CD racks. If for some reason, cardboard must be used, please at least put in a plastic insert like that in a standard jewel case that the disk can be secured into, and removed from without fear of smudging or scratching.

Amen to that length of the CD post, Legomancer. Who the fark does Weezer think they are putting out a CD less than 30 minutes long? I can fit the blue and green Weezer CDs on a single CD-R! I’m sorry, unless you are the Beatles, that doesn’t cut it. Get back in the studio and write some more damn songs.