The evolution of music formats has made CDs obsolete. One of the main reasons bands are still releasing CDs is that they need it for promotion. And that’s because the majority of reviewers and promoters still don’t accept submissions in digital format. Bandwidth is no longer a problem, you can download even albums encoded in high resolution formats within seconds. Sure, they don’t want to receive huge attachments in e-mail, but there’s the likes of yousendit.com as a solution for sending large files, or even slicker options, like the download code functionality on Bandcamp or Soundcloud, a service developed exactly for this purpose.
Sending promo packages costs bands money. In our case, sending a promo CD abroad costs about as much as what we earn when we sell one. It takes a package about a week to arrive, and it may get damaged or lost on the way. And being environmentally conscious punk rockers, let’s not forget about the waste created with physical promo packages either. Still, when last year we were sending out digital promos, the most common answer we got was “please send a promo CD”. Sure, but only if you send us a physical copy of your webzine in exchange.
So why aren’t these people willing to make the shift from CDs to mp3s? The main reason is that they regard the costs of sending physical promo packages as an entry fee, which helps them filter submissions down to serious ones only. Indeed, there are a lot of stupid bands out there, who will submit their stuff to the most inappropriate places just because it’s free. There are examples now of paid digital submissions for the same reason. Punkradiocast uses Sonicbids for this, and they charge $5 for a submission, which is more expensive than international postage. If this sounds like a rip-off to you, that’s because it is.
Here’s our 5 cents on this: how long does it take a promoter/reviewer to spot and delete an inappropriate submission? 5 seconds? It’s part of your job, deal with it! Stop prolonging the agony of the CD, let’s just put it out of its misery!