Why CDs Are Still the Best Platform for Musicians

Posted on Fri, 04/09/2021 - 1:20pm

Music lovers Blank Media Printing

"Music isn’t just a creative endeavor, it’s a business as well."  - SpecialGuestApp

Did you know that musicians still receive most of their income through CDs and very little income from streaming services? 

Streaming services are easily accessible to users, but megastars like Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Garth Brooks are on a mission to call out these “digital vampires” - as Pete Townshend of The Who refers to them.

Here is why CDs are still the best platform for musicians - as a bonus, we've included a free CD jewel case template to help you get started designing your album.

Why do musicians hate streaming?

  1. Streaming services reduce sound quality
  2. Musicians make significantly less money from digital sales and streaming
  3. This combination of reduced audio quality and income undermine the musician’s work

Sound Quality

"The sound quality of an online .mp3 file is significantly less than that of 16-bit audio used on CDs."

The MP3 is the audio file most commonly used for downloading and streaming music. It is actually a compressed version of the hi-res tracks that are originally created in studios by musicians. It was created for easier sharing, but at a cost - the sound quality is significantly less than that of 16-bit audio used on CDs

  • "The size and sound quality of an MP3 file is determined by the sampling or bit rate which generally ranges from 96 to 320 kilobytes per second (Kbps)... A commonly used bit rate for MP3 files is 128 Kbps. This produces a file that is 11 times smaller (11:1) than the original file with a sound quality that is similar to what one would hear on the radio...  In other words, a CD file is 11 times larger than a 128 Kbps MP3 file.​"

Music quality Blank Media Printing

"CDs significantly outplay all online competition in quality."

Audio recorded on CDs has more depth, clarity, and warmth. Three journalists from The Guardian tested different formats side by side and found that the high-quality audio recordings on CDs were “crisper and clearer, with each instrumental part emerging from a murky swamp of sound.”

Furthermore, they could not distinguish between the CD audio and the music recorded in the studio. The fact of the matter is CDs significantly outplay all online competition in quality. 


Not only do CDs have higher quality audio, but they are also the best media for musician compensation.

CDs are best for profit Blank Media Printing

"CDs are the best method for receiving the highest return on investment for musicians."

Many mainstream artists such as The Beatles, Thom Yorke (Radiohead), and Prince refuse to have their music played on streaming and digital download services because they oppose the business model where musicians get the short end of the deal. 

Musician Sales cd vs streaming

In a controversial infographic, David McCandless of Information is Beautiful broke down different delivery platforms and how it affects the artist. CDs came out on top as the best method for receiving the highest return on investment for musicians. Streaming services were placed dead last as the worst method for income.

Calculations were based on how much of a particular media form would need to be sold for a musician to meet the U.S. federal guidelines for monthly minimum wage.

  • Musicians need to sell 143 CDs in order to meet this guideline - they will pocket $8 per CD sale.
  • In order to make the same $8 on Spotify, an artist needs to have their songs played 4,053,110 times.

This set up essentially means artists producing only top hits will be able to make enough money through streaming.

Supporting Artists

When asked about CDs as a source of income, famous folk singer Mary Gauthier said “CD sales are an important source of income for me.” Additionally, CDs are a physical take-away from concerts that patrons still enjoy and expect. Gauthier noticed, "people still buy CDs at the table after the show. They want them signed, they want to say hello, and they want to help me keep the tour going.”

As a customer - CDs are the best way to support your favorite artist and enjoy the highest quality music. 

As a musician - when recording music, don’t sacrifice your art and hard work for trendy streaming services. 

Download Your Free Album Cover Template

Custom Jewel Case Packaging, Custom CD Packaging

At Blank Media Printing, we produce CDs with perfect audio using the best quality media (Philips, JVC/Taiyo Yuden, Verbatim) and 6 Color Digital UV Ink. We offer the lowest prices - perfect for indie musicians and industry-leading artists alike. We print in the U.S.A and offer same day shipping with no rush fees. Plus, new users receive 10% off during signup. 

How to download:

  1. Enter your name and email to download our prefilled template
  2. Use our free template to drop in your album cover art when are creating your order
  3. You can edit this template in both Photoshop and in Photopea (free)
  4. Get started with your order today! 

Download your free Template:

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