too much typing—since 2003


new peeve companion

Please, let us nip this CD packaging trend directly in the bud. (Why am I using what I presume is a horticultural metaphor when plants regularly commit suicide in my presence? Ah - I think I've just answered my own question.) I speak of this deal with the cardboard gatefold packaging, with two pockets facing the center, one of which holds the CD and the other of which holds either notes, a second CD, or nothing at all. The problem? The pockets are deep enough that the CD cannot be grasped by its edge and pulled out (or perhaps it can, if you have the same microfingers that the people who assemble hard drives have - although blessedly you do not need one of those triple-angled screwdrivers), which means either you bend the packaging all the way backwards, and try to flop the disc out that way (which doesn't work: the bending creates enough tension to hold the disc in place, usually...or if there's slack, and there's two CDs, the second one wants to fall out as well) - or you figure, well, if I compress the packaging a bit so I can reach in to pull out the disc...dammit, just tore the packaging near the middle, at its weakest point. On two of these that I've bought recently (Arcade Fire's Funeral and the Frank Black Francis album), that's exactly what happened: both are now slightly torn. With the Arcade Fire disc, at least the packaging is attractive enough, and uses cardboard's three-dimensionality to positive effect, so it doesn't seem totally pointless - but the FBF disc is just somber black-and-white tinted photos.

Here's my suggestion: go ahead and do fancy engraved, embossed, or diecut artwork in cardboard - but either package that in such a way that the discs are easily removed, or put the fancy cardboard in a jewelbox (The Long Winters did that with their glossy, 3D ink-laden packaging for When I Pretend to Fall.

While I'm at it: do the plastic slipcases surrounding the reissued early Brian Eno titles really need to be so damned tight?

Next, I will complain about how I can't get the damned container open to get at my meds. Nurse! Nurse?


Trickish Knave said...

Good luck with your ongoing CD extraction; don't you have a 2 year old with little fingers running around? I am actually relieved that I am not the only one left on the planet that actually buys a CD instead of getting music off the Internet.

2fs said...

Nope - no kids here, no plans for 'em. Nieces and nephews are enough. Plus, two cats.

Anonymous said...

I fucked up my Arcade Fire CD, too. I also can never find it in the stack.


Alan said...

I didn't have too much trouble getting the Arcade Fire disc out, my complaint was it was too easy to crease the cardboard and make it no longer "Near Mint" (Granted I was carrying it in my pocket at the show, but it wouldn't have been an issue with a jewel box).

Although on another level, I do think it's more environmentally responsible than another hunk of plastic, and you can fit almost twice as many of them on the same shelf than with standard jewel boxes.

2fs said...

Although on another level, I do think it's more environmentally responsible than another hunk of plastic, and you can fit almost twice as many of them on the same shelf than with standard jewel boxes. This is true to a degree, since I believe it consumes more energy and resources to produce a plastic jewelbox than to make a cardboard sleeve. However, it's important to distinguish between useless and useful packaging. Kids' toys, for instance, often come with layers and layers of cardboard and plastic whose sole purpose, it seems, is to bulk up the item sold. And ye olde "longbox" (for your oldsters out there) was another example. But the jewelbox is useful packaging: it both presents and protects what it packages. And of course (unless you're one of those maniacs that discards jewelboxes and houses his collection in binder folders and lives in Colorado and likes BOC), you keep jewelboxes; they're not there solely to be thrown away by the consumer. I think usefulness trumpts strict economy any day; otherwise we'd all go live in the woods and scrounge nuts and berries. I don't think there's anything wrong with using things. It's using things up, and doing so pointlessly, that's a problem.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I don't use "binder folders". The CDs and packaging are in individual plastic sleeves which sit on the shelves that the jewel boxes used to occupy. Seems to me the problem with folders would be adding new discs in the middle, especially when you have thousands of discs.

I haven't ruined my Arcade Fire CD packaging yet. And I suppose I should try to keep it intact, since Alan got it autographed for me.