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No Booklet - No Waste?

Earlier this week I reviewed the new Sammy Hagar disc. I mentioned that CD was packaged in an environmentally friendly way: with no book. The more I think about it, I can't help but wonder how much we're missing without those precious liner booklets.

Seriously, I've never thrown a single CD away in my life. That means no jewel cases in the landfill - and no booklets there, either. I don't know too many music lovers that just pitch CDs, cases and booklets. I think distributing albums in digipacks made of recycled materials is great. I think skipping the booklet and sending fans to a website for liner information is bad.

I've written about my love of liner notes in the past. I am absolutely bummed when I buy a new CD only to find there's no book - or just a folded insert. I like booklets that include lyrics and production credits. This might be selfish, if so, I apologize.

I'm trying to reduce my carbon footprint. I recycle at home and at work. I only wash clothes in cold water. I'm a strict vegetarian. I avoid taking plastic bags at stores when not necessary. I drive a tiny car and I don't go many places that are unplanned. I think this allows me my liner booklet.

Seriously, if we all did a little more to save the earth - like some of the stuff I just listed above - we could keep liner notes. These notes are the personal link for fans to a band. How else are we supposed to learn a band's most ardent supporters? Their family members? Their endorsement deals?

Now, if you simply buy a CD and chuck the case in the rubbish can, shame on you. That's irresponsible to the earth and disrespectful to the music. Still, I highly doubt many of you out there make this a common practice.

When a CD case says "Visit [INSERT NAME] website here for album credits" it's more a marketing ploy than fan appreciation. Sure, some fans (like me) might log on to see who produced and engineered - but a lot of people will get side tracked with artist news, forums...and crap for sale. I think the web should be used in tandem with more traditional marketing - and that includes a paper CD booklet.





Reader Comments (18)

hard to say...even if you don't throw them away now, they will get thrown away one day. And I don't think this is a situation where we should give some to get some, y'know? that isn't the right mindset either. If you save in one way and waste in another...your waste is still waste.

Anyway, I'm still with you...I like liner notes no matter what. One of my favorite artists, Dave Barnes, had fantastic liner notes-with jokes and things-in his first albums, and then took them away in the last one.I have to say, I was really disappointed. Reading liners is just one of those ways I bond with an artist, y'know? If I'm going to pay $15 for a CD, I want something tangible to enjoy along with it..whether it be lyrics or what. Liner notes are just part of the experience of buying the album.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterr0ck0n
As I am one of few people I know that still actively buys CDs, of course I like my liner art. Whenever I whine about a CD taking a while to come out, people are too quick to say "download it." But I want it in my hands, in my stereo, and then in my CD tower along with the legions of other CDs I happily have purchased over the years. It adds to the experience of an album, for me. Unwrapping it, bringing it home... keeps me young :)

We have dozens of other ways to stay green, so don't take this away from me. I don't want hard-copy albums to be a subject I bewilder my children with.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlesh
Well, with the age of iTunes and the iPod, I rarely ever even touch a cd. With a family, I rarely get to blast music thru my stereo anymore. Majority of my listening comes at the hands of my iPod which has internet access, which is where I get most of my information (production, lyrics, photos) anyway.

I'd be more happy, if the artist passed on some of the packaging savings to us, the consumer. I realize it's not the artist making the decisions on price point, but, for me, when I was able to start buying blank CD's for $.25 or less, it's made it real hard to justify paying $13 -$15 for one at the store with some tunes on it.

Listening to as much music as I do, paying $9.99 for an iTunes album instead of $13.99 at Best Buy, makes a difference over the long haul, when you calculate the $4.00 per album that you're saving.

So, in a nutshell, not having an album cover, liner notes, or lyrics doesn't have that much of an impact on me.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTodd
I have to agree with Todd, I only ever buy an album when its very special to me and I can say, look, I bought there album, its real. Which is basically all Motley Crue albums. But I was gutted when Saints didnt have a real album booklet, just that tiny little poster. I love it when albums have all the lyrics and info about the album on, and I miss that.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLucifer
this is why i still like to buy vinyl if its available - i like to read who produced and where, i also like to read the 'thanks to' section - maybe that makes me a geek in some ways but i dont mind - glamgeek - i can live with that.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterred6ixx
I'm still a physical buyer of music at heart. I like to own a pretty physical thing to complete my ownership of the information. I like the feeling that I own this physical liner booklet, and that while the musicians' primary service to me is making the music I have bought off them, that the texture of the paper, the smell of the ink, the type of cd casing, all that, is a part of the package I've purchased.

And I don't think this is wasteful at all, because I cherish those physical artifacts. I still have cds I bought in my early teens. I've gone through a few generic cases - which I realise is bad cause they're the most wasteful part of most packaging - but if I stop being offered the opportunity to buy so much music with thoughtfully-compiled packaging, I can guarantee I'll find myself buying less music.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTom
I think a nice booklet is essential to a CD. I love buying CDs and if I don't get a booklet I would feel cheated. How big are the chances that you log onto the net just to read the credits anyway? I want to have the booklet with me, to read it while listening.

Also I'm usually interested in the lyrics - while listening to the music. What am I supposed to do - print out the lyrics from the net? I doubt that helps the cause in any way.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterXandra73
I love CDs i gotta have them i never download.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMotleyCrue666
I agree with you completely (again) Allyson, you've said it better than I could. That's one of the best parts of marking on the calendar when an album is released, getting to the store that day, unwrapping it, throwing it in the CD player in the car while you read the lyrics. Old school or not, it's just another facet to fully enjoying music. Besides, where would Tool be without their (grammy winning) album art?
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermom2ross
i agree allyson,i love reading the liner notes to see pics,thank you's and any other cool info that may be provided.Thats why vinyl is still so important,some cover arts(iron maiden for example) are like art work that can be hung on your wall. Give me my liner notes!
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteral rose
for those older fans, i remember when cassettes were just starting to get big often times you opened it up and got..............nothing. no pictures, no liner notes, not even a list of who played what. just plain white backside to the album cover. that was always disapointing, especially when it was a new band for you and you wanted to know as much about them as you could. that changed until it was normal for the liner notes, band info, etc to be included. then it bacame normal for the lyrics to be included.

now everything is changing in a different way. most of these artists or labels that are not doing booklets, well it's not because it's better for the environment. it's just cheaper on their end not to do it. less cost means more profit. and if they can get you to go to their website there is that chance for you to get sidetracked and perhaps you will buy something else. i feel that's why most of them do it. not out of some dedication to improving the world. more out of somededication to improve their profit intake.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdon
I'll echo, well, almost everybody. Gotta have the liner notes.

When we were dealing with the packaging for "All Comes Down To You", (shameless plug, so kill me), there was almost no discussion about what to include in the CD. Live shots? check. Lyrics? Not that they're earthshattering but check. Special Thanks listing people that only a handful of people know? Check. Is it still cool? Bet you ass it is - I'm old school. If I were buying "All Comes Down To You", (Tonight You Rock, available exclusively on Retrospect Records.. hint, hint), I'd want something just as visually tangible as the music is, sonically.

And besides, if you're gonna spend $11.99, (What? Only $11.99?!?), then that's money that could have been spent elsewhere... If a band wants my money, give me something worth every penny.

(Like Tonight You Rock's CD "All Comes Down To You".)

Ok, ok... stop throwing things at me....!
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterValentine
I never download unless the album is not available on CD, and if I'm buying the CD I really hate not getting decent packaging (liner notes, lyrics at least), and it's certainly nice when a band (i.e. Dungeon) gives even more by having song by song notes, or something of that nature.

If i bought that Hagar disc (not a fan, so I won't anyway) I'd be pretty annoyed, might as well have saved some $$ and downloaded it.
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJack
I agree with you Allyson...I love the booklets too...I think that every CD should come with one..
November 12, 2008 | Unregistered CommenteraXe mAn
My Journey's Greatest Hit's album had no booklet and was made from recycled material. Point: Journey
November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPBF666
When I download, it's usually only a good single from an album that I would not buy. I've NEVER downloaded a whole album. I own a lot of CD's since I've been actively buying them for about 15 years now, but even so I only buy then when I really want the whole album. And thus I want the whole package. I love my iPod, I love the availability of downloads, but I also love holding liner notes in my hand. Most people just don't get that.

So I 100% agree with you.
November 13, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLisa
I couldn't agree with you more....I love the booklets(liner notes) with song lyrics or least to let you know who was all on the album(sorry showing my age) I mean CD. Also why not keep the hard jewel cases? Couldn't those be made from recycled plastic? Having paper cases just makes it easier to rip or dent,having over 1,500 CD's....I prefer the hard cases.Glad to see Sammy hard rockin' again.I wasn't to fond of his last CD (Livin' It Up) only 2 good rockin' tunes on it.Anywho,Rock on people!!!!!
November 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark Nelson
yes i still buy cds and vinyl, and if the booklet isnt there im pissed, because if im going to drop 10 to 15 bucks i want the notes, the lyrics, pictures, and all that, some say im a nerd, but i just love music......
April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDevin

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