CDs with liner notes / lyrics booklets

Don’t see these as much as you used to do you. Shame cos it’s one of the main factors in me deciding whether to buy a physical copy of something. Any labels / artists that are still good at producing these?

I think there’s been a bit of an attempt by record companies to make CDs higher end/low volume recently with some releases. I think Billie Eilish and Lana del Ray albums came out in super expensive cd versions. Sort of thing you’d expect for Pink Floyd reissues.

Are most just digipacks or cardboard slip cases now? Don’t have a cd store in my town so don’t actually see them!

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The jewel case is definitely going out of vogue. I still buy a reasonable amount of new CDs and I’d guess it’s probs 25% jewel case/75% digipaks nowadays on what I purchase . Would have been the other way around 5 years ago.

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CD releases have suffered considerably in the last few years due to higher bandwidth internet and streaming services now offer CD quality streams. Not to mention the inexplicable resurgence of vinyl, which most small record companies have realised they can make two to three times as much on average than CD sales. Why sell a CD for £10 when people seem willing to spend £25? After all, the difference in production costs is negligible, modern vinyl is not the quality of yesteryear.

As someone who likes to own their music and can’t afford either the extortion or space required for vinyl, these are sad and worrying times.

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only reissues have decent liner notes now


The last CD I bought that had an actual lyric sheet was the new Happyness album, and before that, Caroline Polachek’s Pang. In terms of liner notes, the History Of The Future box set from The Orb came with a thick booklet of artwork and esoterica, and in terms of future releases, the Manics are putting out a pretty splendid looking Gold Against The Soul deluxe anniversary edition.

The only 2020 albums so far I got that are jewel cases are The Strokes and Dan Deacon, the rest have been cardboard cases. Many of them still have lyrics booklets though.

What annoys me is inconsistency between releases by the same act, for instance the new Perfume Genius album packaging is smaller in dimensions than the previous ones. I like consistency! :frowning:


That is certainly true! When they were trying to kill off vinyl in the 90s the production standards and sound quality were terrible. My original copy of the bends sounds like it was recorded onto a piece of cellophane.

Obviously varies by label etc but modern vinyl pressings are much much better than the ones I grew up with.

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Saw a thing from Andy Votel (finders keepers) recently in response to someone asking why no cd release saying they just didn’t sell any at all and he’d been stuck with a load of stock of the last few cd releases. Finders Keepers spend a lot of time and effort on packaging, liner notes etc so if that is typical I guess it’s not surprising CDs still being put out are sort of minimum effort/minimum risk.

I think CDs are inevitably heading towards being niche like vinyl and that’s what record companies want so they can start charging £25 for a CD. Maybe car cd players have prolonged their popularity but even that seems to be gone as a thing now.

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Very annoying when the lyrics aren’t somewhere with the record or cd
Would rather them inside a record than a separate sheet but they need to be there imho

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Really appreciate when a digital purchase comes with a PDF booklet or similar

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Used to love it when bands would put the lyrics AND the chords in the book – Modern Life Is Rubbish a marvellous example of this.


Sufjan Stevens’ Christmas music boxsets too

I found my Kid A CD the other day and remembered it had that hidden artwork leaflet behind the jewel case bit where the CD sits. Got all excited prizing it off and looking at it again :smiley:


Was always annoying if the booklet was too thick for the jewel case so it’d get caught on the tabs and then you’d end up creasing it jamming it back in


Always preferred jewel cases as they worked and looked better on shelves, unless you dropped them and broke the little tabs holding the cd in place in which case they were as annoying as fuck.

Yes, loved this discovery when it was new.

Unfortunately my CDs were caught in a flood, and this booklet ballooned up so the case no longer closes.

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I like reading the lyrics while listening to the recordings. Fuck you, Jarvis.


The day Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness came out I was on a half-term holiday in Cornwall. I had no access to a CD player for a week, but that booklet kept me going as I imagined what all the songs sounded like.


Trent Reznor was always very good at this. For quite a few years every NIN CD release had a different unique, or unusual, packaging. The original Broken CD came in a four-way folded digipack, with a second, mini CD in a small envelope inside with the two secret tracks on it. Cutest thing you’ve ever seen.

The culmination was Year Zero, which had heat-sensitive artwork on the CD which revealed a message in binary once the CD had been warmed up by the CD player. The ultimatein geek fan-service packaging.