- The Publish Press
- How Creators Made CDs Cool Again 💿
How Creators Made CDs Cool Again 💿
Physical music products are making a comeback
Good morning. Rapper and social media maestro Lil Nas X is back with a new single after over two years, and he emptied the viral stunt toolbox in marketing his latest music video: fake college acceptance letters, lo-fi infomercials, and celebrity impersonator endorsements, to name a few. And it worked. 12 hours later, the video is #1 on YouTube’s Trending charts and already topped 1.3 million views.
Why Music Creators Are Selling CDs
Musician and creator Mary Spender finds value in printing her music on CDs /Guitar.com
Artists and music creators are increasingly expanding to physical music products—primarily CDs and vinyl—to capitalize on a major shift in the music industry: Revenue from retro formats recently hit a decade high, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).
“I think we’ve gotten to a point where we’re super convenient with all our listening habits,” Mary Spender, a singer-songwriter and YouTube creator who sold 3,000 CD copies of her debut studio album last year, told us.
“We can do everything on our phones, and people are sort of, you know, craving something different,” she said.
Context: Streaming services such as Spotify and YouTube Music still drive the music industry. 84% of U.S. recorded music revenue came from streaming platforms in the first half of 2023, compared to 11% from physical music products, per RIAA.
But young fans are driving the resurgence in physical products as a complement to streaming that can a) further support their favorite artists through direct sales and b) showcase fandom as collectible merch.
FYI: Spender said in 2023 that a fan would need to stream her songs 8,333 times on Spotify to net her the same revenue as one CD purchase.
The creator POV: Legacy formats can help creators diversify their storytelling across media and offer collectibles to core fans, as evidenced by MoistCr1TiKaL’s wildly successful comic book or Jabrils’ chart-topping manga.
“[Making the CD] took a lot of headaches, a lot of project management,” Spender told us. “The amount of time I spent on it…I probably lost money by not working as hard on the YouTube channel.”
“However, this now plays into the credibility factor of being a singer-songwriter…and by making sure that my 1,000 true fans not only want [the CD], but love it—those are the only people you need to worry about,” Spender said.
Creators Distance Themselves from Substack
Backdrop: Since December, the newsletter company has been accused of platforming Nazis and white supremecists who’ve skirted Substack’s relatively lax content moderation rules.
In response, Substack last month doubled down on “upholding and protecting freedom of expression, even when it hurts.”
On Monday, though, Substack changed its tune and banned a handful of pro-Nazi accounts. But not before newsletter creators headed for the exit.
Creators including Gen Z writer Casey Lewis and internet commentator Ryan Broderick have publicly weighed moving to other newsletter platforms.
Technology writer Molly White left earlier this month to self-host her newsletter.
Platform Watch: Twitch Downsizes
Twitch laid off about 500 workers this week / Illustration by Moy Zhong
This week, Twitch laid off over one-third of its staff—around 500 people—in order to cut costs. Details:
Twitch’s downsizing is part of a wider round of layoffs across parent company Amazon.
The layoffs come a month after Twitch shut down in Korea.
Twitch CEO Dan Clancy said on a livestream yesterday that Twitch isn’t profitable and gets its funding from Amazon. Twitch is now working to make sure the platform is a manageable size.
“Amazon has been extremely supportive of Twitch and a big thing of being sustainable overtime is ensuring that we don’t lose money,” Clancy said.
“We’ve been very clear about the importance of our efforts to provide more resources to streamers, like our Partner Plus and Ads Incentives Program,” Clancy said. “We still have more than enough resources and will still be able to serve your needs and improve the product.”
Let us know: Are you creating on Twitch? If so, does news like this impact your strategy on the platform? Reply with your thoughts—we’d love to talk with you for a potential story.
🔥 Press Worthy
Ludwig offers his perspective on why creators including MatPat and Tom Scott are retiring.
YouTube adds support for RSS feeds for podcasts.
Gordon Ramsay appears on Mythical Kitchen and eats his last meal.
NPR TikTok creator Jack Corbett designs NPR merch.
Twitch streamer Will Neff launches a hot sauce that sells out in minutes.
TikTok comedian Frankie LaPenna joins underwear brand Shinesty as “chief asset officer.”
MKBHD is selling his Tesla on Doug Demuro’s Cars and Bids.
📚️ Thank You For Pressing Publish
The content we’re looking forward to reading, watching, and listening to this weekend.
Read: Author Freddie deBoer explores how media (from Taylor Swift to identity politics) shape human behavior—and in some cases, lead to self abandonment.
Watch: “Are you being rewarded for your talent, or being tokenized for your ability…to not rock the boat too much?” Video essayist F.D Signifier reflects on his success in 2023 as a Black creator on YouTube while exploring Spike Lee’s 2000 film, Bamboozled.
Listen: Actor Ike Barinholtz listened to “Chernobyl levels of poison” to prep for his new satirical podcast on Andrew Tate-type personalities in The Chris Chatman Do-Over.
When you refer new readers to the Press, you earn merch from the Press Publish shop.
*Here’s your unique link to share: https://news.thepublishpress.com/subscribe?ref=PLACEHOLDER
You currently have 0 referrals. You're only 5 away from receiving Stickers.
*Please do not use fake email addresses — they will not qualify as referrals. Thank you!