March 4, 2004

Stupid CDs

POST #    809

Okay, the compact disc was invented in 1980, but why hasn't the packaging improved since then? I know that CDs haven't been used for music all 24 years, but lets say they've been used for since 1992, that's 12 years. In those 12 years, they couldn't invent some better packaging? I don't mean the jewel case, but I mean the sticky thing on the jewel case. The thing that ensures that your CD has not been opened. As if the shrink-wrap wasn't enough, they had to add an obscenely sticky label thing to the top. I know they used to have an even more complex container, some might even call what they used to use a mechanism, but this is no easier. And after you take off the sticky thing, you may have some adhesive left on the jewel case. Occasionally, you even get some of the label thing left over.

I actually had a friend in college that would leave the sticky thing on. At first, I think he just left it on because he was in a hurry to listen to his CD. Eventually, I think it became his "thing" and a way to mark his CDs. He would just slap the sticky label onto the front of the CD. Crazy college kids.

Posted by tien mao in Concerts/Music at 10:59 AM



I think we just have a major "over-packaging" problem in the US. When I was hiking, and would put things like food into ziplock bags, you should have seen how much trash was left over from all the packaging it came in.

As for CDs, while I do hate those sticky things, they are at least better than those stupid plastic things as you mentioned.

Posted by: Justin at March 4, 2004 12:13 PM

I hate the sticky buggers as well. They're called top spine labels, and at the plant we use for manufacture they cost 6 cents additional per unit. Which makes me doubly happy not to use them - our new CD isn't even shrinkwrapped, since it's a limited-edition hand-numbered release and we have to get in there to do the numbering.

If you have the time and the personality - I'm not the right kind of person for this, as it turns out - the foolproof method for getting them off cleanly is this. Remove the shrinkwrap from the package first, of course. Then gently and carefully pop the bottom hinge of the jewel case out of its pivot hole, detaching the cover from the rest of the case (the trick here is not to break the little hinge). Once you've done this you'll have two pieces, the cover and the tray case, held together only by the top spine label, and it's easy to peel it off. Then reattach the cover.

I know people who actually do this. Me, I scrabble at the thing with my fingernails until I get most of it off.

Posted by: Linus at March 4, 2004 12:17 PM

Sticky, "yes your CD is new" labels weren't widely used until the early '90s. Until CDs became more popular than LPs, they were sold in the same racks as the LPs. The racks were deeper than the CDs were tall, so the CDs were typically shrink-wrapped in a double-height cardboard cover to be as tall as an LP. Since the cardboard would get quickly beat up it was difficult to pass off a used CD as new. Once record stores switched from LP racks to CD racks, the extra cardboard wasn't needed and it became easy to shrink wrap used CDs. Hence the need for the awful sticky labels.

Posted by: joe s at March 4, 2004 12:23 PM

linus, are you in a band? i went through a long period in the 90s of avoiding any major-label type releases, only buying CDs (and of course inyl) of indie and otherwise unknown bands. so when i finally started buying stuff at, say, Tower records again, i was totally surprised by the ubiquity of the top spine label, and at a complete loss on how to remove them. my DAD actually had to show me the method described above for removal.

Posted by: Jimmy Legs at March 4, 2004 12:37 PM

the spine labels are better than those little irridescent wishbone-type stickers they had for a brief time, the ones with the REALLY sticky adhesive... those were the worst.

as much as it's a waste of resources, i really loved CD boxes.

Posted by: janelle at March 4, 2004 1:44 PM

Jimmy, I run an indie label and am not in a band. I go for years without buying major label releases, which mostly all sound the same (though I always made exceptions for Elvis Costello records). I started buying major label albums again when I got into Napster, and now that Kazaa has been ordered off our work machines by the Powers That Be I have happily returned to being out of that loop. Saves lots of money, and I miss roughly no critical music.

Posted by: Linus at March 4, 2004 1:50 PM

i too pick away at the top spine labels. i used to have this little contraption that would cut the top and make it easier to peel off, but i think i've lost it between college and new york.

and i don't think i have the patience to unhinge the whole jewel case.

Posted by: tien at March 4, 2004 1:58 PM

I do the Linus method with great results. That is to say I used to do that when I still bought CDs.

Posted by: Jon at March 4, 2004 2:34 PM

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