Whoever bet 10 or 15 years ago that the CD’s days would be numbered due to technological advances lost. With the popularization of streaming, in fact, the silver disc’s market share has declined, but it is also true that it continues to be produced on a significant scale by independent artists, labels, and record companies. The reasons for the permanence of this media, considered by many to be obsolete, are varied, but basically they are a matter of personal interest.
The CD’s trajectory, fueled by the proliferation of platforms like Spotify and Deezer, hasn’t been one of linear decline. Between 2020 and 2021, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the cookie showed a clear sign of resistance, with sales increasing by 139% in Brazil. Among physical media, CDs were the most commercialized in 2021.
with the power of pop
The number was boosted by major pop releases including albums from Adele, Taylor Swift, BTS and Olivia Rodrigo. For a while, Adele was one of the artists who fought the hardest to survive on physical media. In November 2015, he released the album “25” on CD only. Had to wait for seven months till it came on the digital platform. The strategy worked. The artist sold over 3 million copies in seven days, breaking a record.
Last year, CDs fluctuated to the downside. A report by the American Association of the Recording Industry showed that more than 41 million vinyl records were sold against 33 million CDs – for the first time since 1987, LPs were ahead in the rankings. Silver Biscuits registered a decline of 18% over the previous year. However, in 2023 the scenario reversed, with the market once again favoring DC.
Billboard data shows that sales in the first 10 weeks of this year were slightly ahead of 2022, rising from 6.8 million to 6.9 million CDs. Officials point to the more accessible price compared to vinyl, which typically exceeds R$150, as reasons for this improvement, and the fact that there are fewer production delays.
In addition, many artists often sell CDs as collectibles. Unlike vinyl, they are easier to transport to sell at shows. Guitarist Yamandu Costa and Portuguese singer Antonio Zambujo, who recently visited Brazilian cities on the “Musica Same Frontiers” tour, adopted a similar strategy to Adele’s.
The duo recorded the album “Prenda Minha” derived from the show that passed through Belo Horizonte in the second half of June, and pressed a CD version to sell where they performed. In the capital of Minas Gerais, a huge queue formed to buy gifts with the right to autograph, as the musicians plan to make the work available on the streaming platform only in early 2024.
“This is a special edition, just for the Brazil tour, for us to sell at shows. A special project, special for our tour here in Brazil”, said Yamandu.
Sales at concerts are one of the reasons singer-songwriter Makali continues to produce CDs. These days, he promotes auditions with small groups of friends for his new album, “Triste Enropico,” which should be released soon.
“All my albums came on CD and ‘Triste Enropico’ will also come. In fact, I haven’t released it yet because the label only wanted to release it on platforms, and I don’t give away physical discs. I sell a lot of records at shows,” he says.
The ‘Broken’ Trilogy
Rapper Roger Defoe, who is also preparing a new album, “Allegoria da Paisaje”, does not hide his appreciation for the media and his desire to “shoot” in this format.
His debut solo album, “Etnographia Suburbana” (2019), came out on CD and contained a compact vinyl version, containing four of the eight tracks in the repertoire. The following work, “To Break Up Frontiers” (2021), came only on vinyl, in addition to being available on all platforms. Defoe hopes that the result of his “trilogy whose theme is the hood” will be realized in physical media.
“I still really like CDs, but the production cost is high considering the consumption. ‘Allegory of the Landscape’ will come out on vinyl, and I would like to release a CD version later. Everything will depend on the budget and how the demand will be”, he says.
Singer Paula Santoro has also recently released the album “Sumauma” on CD. There are many reasons to continue betting on this format, and they all agree in a way on the question of personal interest. Paula bakes cookies thinking of those people who still have CD players in their cars.
“I don’t even have a car now, but when I travel and need to rent, I ask for a car with a CD player. Beyond that, there is the question of the technical sheet and, above all, the photos. ‘Sumauma’ has a very detailed graphic design, very thoughtful, with a concept. So, it would be a shame not to have a CD to work on the cover and booklet”, he explains.
“It’s really cool to be able to read the handling, the photos, the art, the technical sheet. The platform’s biggest flaw is not putting up a tech sheet, I think that’s a complete disrespect to the people who played, who composed, to everyone involved. My record features incredible musicians and special guest appearances by João Bosco, João Donato, Arthur Verroçe, Tizumba, Raúl de Souza. The listener must be aware of this”, emphasizes Paula.
Carioca Roberto Menescal is releasing “Noz e o mar” on CD, and Rio Grande do Sul Ian Ramil bets on the format of presenting “Tetin”, which has just come out. Ian says that this medium allows him to create booklets with lyrics and information about the songs.
However, the scenario is not encouraging for those working in the sector. Carlo Giati has been working for 22 years at Discomania, the store his parents founded in 1979 in Savosi. He affirms that yes, there is still demand that justifies keeping business open, but supply has likely shrunk.
“With the decrease in demand, record labels have lost interest in releasing albums on CD. Many independent artists began making work available only on the forums. The consumer is the public, but there is no one to produce. In fact, it continues to exist, but on a much smaller scale than before. People come here and I have nothing new to offer. Due to decrease in production, the price increased. It has become almost a luxury product”, he says.
Carlo gives the example of a CD recording João Gilberto’s show in São Paulo’s Cesc Vila Mariana in 1998, recently released by the Cello Cesc Reliquario series. “It came to us, but it was a limited edition. After two days, there was nothing left to sell. I contact, I ask, but they don’t have it to send. And when, by chance, they do, the interest generated by the launch will have died out”, he explains.
Giati revealed that its people profile is mostly in the over-50 age group, but noted that younger people are also coming into the store. “There have been CD releases for this audience by Ariana Grande, Taylor Swift and other pop artists. With the closure of the readings (of the music section), these young people moved here”, he said.
active business in the center
Contrary to the idea that record stores are a thing of the past, the central area of Belo Horizonte is full of these types of stores – a sign that they are still there. CD&Co continues to operate on Rua Tupinambas; Cerestera, on Rua Curitiba; All Wave Disco at Galeria Praca Sette; Bau da Musica, on Avenida Olegario Maciel; CD and Sia on Avenida Santos Dumont; and CD Club, on Avenida Amazonas, close to Praça da Estáção, among many others.
The cradle of the heavy metal scene in Belo Horizonte in the 1980s, record store and record label Cogumelo not only releases albums by its groups of artists on CD, but also releases LPs in this format from its catalog released over three decades ago. does. Considered classics by heavy rock lovers.
Cogumelo’s owner, João Eduardo, draws attention to the fact that there are obstacles, but he does not consider stopping working with physical media.
“We keep releasing new bands, but there’s no point in just recording at the moment. You have to distribute, you have to put the record in stores, and there’s not a lot in our segment anymore. People keep betting. Even cassette tapes were being remade. Many people of my generation do not like the digital environment of listening to music. We are on all platforms, but we insist on having LPs and CDs, because there is still demand”, he explains.
Biscotti Fino bets on format
Record labels are still betting on CDs. The Biscoito Fino website, for example, features albums by Maria Bethania, Francis Snow, Zé Renato, Mónica Salmaso and André Mehmari, Velha Guarda da Portela, Carlinhos Verguero and Leila Maria, most recently released with a price of R$50. have been done.