Why are blank CDs so expensive?

Post ImageI never thought I’d write something like this, but blank CDs are freaking expensive! It wasn’t long ago that I could care less about turning a CD into a coaster, but now I do care. I don’t know what changed, but for some reason CDs have become incredibly expensive relative to DVDs.

Here is the current pricing at Futureshop.ca for a brand I quite like:

More than double the price! And it’s not just Maxell either:

It’s ridiculous! Heck, you can get a 50 pack of Memorex Dual Layer DVD+Rs for only $59.99. I suppose I should point out that both the Maxell DVD and Memorex Dual Layer DVD prices are after an instant rebate, but don’t be fooled – that spindle of 100 Maxell DVDs has been $32.99 for at least six months. That’s for both DVD-R and DVD+R. This isn’t specific to Futureshop either…I’ve noticed the same trend at all computer stores here in Edmonton.

I’m obviously not an expert on this topic, but aren’t CDs and DVDs made from pretty much the same stuff? The main difference between the two seems to be the wavelength of the laser that is used, not anything with the physical discs themselves. Even if there are some differences, surely CDs shouldn’t be twice as expensive as DVDs to manufacture!

You might be thinking that this isn’t a big deal – DVDs store more data anyway. That’s entirely accurate. In fact, I really only use CDs for two reasons: burning audio CDs for my car, and burning CD images. Still, the price shocks me.

Perhaps the high price of CDs is just a reflection of marketplace pressures? These days, almost everyone has a portable media player (like an iPod) and almost all new cars have an auxiliary jack (including mine), so there’s less of a need to burn audio CDs. And on the data side, DVDs are just far more useful due to their larger capacity. All new computers come with a drive that will burn both DVDs and CDs, so it’s easy to pick DVDs over CDs.

Are CDs dead?

I don’t think CDs will be disappearing any time soon, but I do think they are on the way out. Newer technologies like DVD, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray have made the CD seem ancient and have certainly reduced its usefulness. And I think it’s safe to say that the CD will be the last physical media form the music industry will ever sell. Digital tracks over the web is the way of the future.

So long compact disc…it was nice knowing you!

14 thoughts on “Why are blank CDs so expensive?

  1. Check out blankmedia.ca. I’ve ordered through them a few times and always got good prices. You can get a 100 pack of non branded CD-Rs for 17.95.

  2. Thanks for the pointers everyone!

    I usually buy stuff at Memory Express Greg, but I couldn’t find CDs there last time…I should have asked I guess. Don’t some Linux distros come on DVD already? I seem to recall downloading a SuSE DVD ISO not too long ago.

  3. I don’t know if this applies, but it may. Back in the old days of 486 CPUs, Intel launched the new Pentium chip. As we all know, the first generation of Pentium chip which was fundamentally different than the 486 chip. However, the Pentium chip were benchmarked as slower than 486. Of course, Intel who developed the Pentium chip want people to adopt it as soon as possible as that is how Intel will get their ROI sooner. But the benchmark between 486 and Pentium did not justify the price difference so adoption of Pentium chip were low. At least not meeting Intel’s internal sales expectaion. So they did a very smart tactical move. Unlike most company, Intel did not drop the price of the Pentium chip. They increased the price of the 486 chip. And guess what, it worked. That is when the Pentium got to the critical mass that we know of today… Intel can do that because it owned the market. But I don’t know about the DVD/CD market as there are a number of vendors…

  4. Interesting angle Steven. I am not sure how relevant that is here though…there isn’t one organization benefiting from the move from CDs to DVDs, as you have pointed out.

    Furthermore, there is no issue with DVDs failing to achieve market success. In fact, I think I read somewhere that DVDs and DVD players took hold faster than any other consumer electronics product in history!

  5. Brad is absolutely right.

    Only the RIAA tax is 29 cents per blank cd NOW!
    What a wonderful insightful government we have. So burn your data to dvd wherever possible. And when you are in the US, stock up on blank CDs for as much as you may need.

    What’s worse is right around the corner is an ipod tax that will andd in the order of $75 to ANY mp3 player. google “ipod tax”

    Governments are tech challenged.

  6. idiot.  make sue every progrom on your computer is paid for wwhile you’re  knocking others.  What about your other possessions.  Be careful where you cast stones

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s