Rebirth of the Local CD Store
By James Grahame
Traditional brick & mortar CD stores are a dumb idea in the 21st century. They house hundreds of thousands of dollars of physical inventory in an enormous space, just to market digital content. Still, CDs remain an excellent idea for several reasons: They offer high-quality uncompressed versions of an artist's music, the package includes physical media which serves as a backup in case your hard drive crashes or your iPod goes missing, and disc packages often include clever artwork and liner notes that give artists the chance to make a lasting visual impression on their audience.
Digital download services can't compete in terms of quality, looks or the ability to resell the media. That's why I still buy physical copies of my music, although it's getting harder and harder to find decently stocked CD and DVD stores.
Luckily, It looks like a CD and DVD distribution revolution is just around the corner.
Primera Technology, a leading manufacturer of disc duplication hardware, recently announced a partnership with Sonic Solutions to develop the Sonic Disc-on-Demand system. The new device allows retailers to offer an almost unlimited catalog of CDs and DVDs without requiring a huge in-store inventory. The software incorporates industry-standard CSS copy protection, which should keep major labels and studios happy.
The Sonic Disc-on-Demand system isn't perfect (It doesn't appear to provide a solution for printing tray cards or liner notes) but these capabilities could easily be added if it proves popular. Best of all, Disc-on-Demand might be the saviour of dying independent record stores, which could combine the enjoyment of browsing a large used disc collection with almost unlimited new material.