Q: PHYSICAL vs. DIGITAL: Where do we go?

Q: PHYSICAL vs. DIGITAL: Where do we go?

We’ve been having an ongoing debate here at BSX/Dragon’s Domain about where should we go in terms of our releases. We understand that many long-term collectors would rather have physical CDs as opposed to digital downloads (even if they are provided in higher resolution than a CD, and also contain a digital booklet), we’ve realized the nature and cost of our limited edition albums may suggest a more favorable business model by looking into digital releases.

 Here’s where we’d like your input.

While we definitely prefer CDs, a market-wide drop in CD sales and a market-wide increase in international shipping costs have made it very expensive to produce and ship physical media such as CDs. Comparatively, digital releases—including an illustrated digital booklet with original notes—can be produced at a much lesser cost. Some collectors, however, just won’t bite unless it’s a physical product no matter who the composer is and no matter how well known the film or television program is.

Another issue we’ve been considering is focusing on lesser-known projects that might not sell enough to recoup the production costs of a CD, and producing these on a digital basis while continuing to offer CDs of better-known or sought-after soundtracks that would have a better chance of selling in quantities that would likely recoup the production costs.

We’d like to get your feedback on this—where do you think we should go? Your comments will be most welcome and appreciated!

            - The Staff of BSX/Dragon’s Domain Recordings

Share this post...
Previous post Next post


  • thomas l. kiefner - October 22, 2020

    For me it is only digital. I recently purchased as a backup a 4 terrabyte hard drive. It holds everything I have with lots of room to spare and it takes up no room. The quality with good headphones is fine for me. My ears aren’t what they use to be. I really don’t care about signed copies.

  • Andréas - October 22, 2020

    Digital pffff. Okay i think that there must be a choice between a digital and physical. I would prefer cd. With the cd i can comlete my collection. When the cd is gone, my collection stop. I had a download once, it is a disaster to downloaded it because it goes always wrong. Please do both, I don’t care if i pay more for cd, and i don’t think that i am the only one.

    🙂Cd 👍🏻 😡Download👎🏻

  • Eric - October 20, 2020

    I definitely prefer CDs but in the past few weeks have just started paying for digital downloads on Bandcamp from artists whose work is unavailable any other way. If digital is the only way to get certain artists, I’ll bite, but I’ll also be less likely to blind buy a download (even if preview clips are available) than I would be a hard copy.

  • Peter - October 19, 2020

    An addition to my comment above. I should add that, speaking honestly, if an album is on Spotify then I tend to listen to it there, and don’t buy the download. Yet when the album is NOT on Spotify, I’ll happily buy the digital download. I’ve bought a fair amount of music through Bandcamp, precisely because so much of it is not on Spotify. So as I said, I love digital downloads or streaming, but I’m assuming you guys would make more money if your albums were only for download rather than on Spotify?

  • Cory - October 19, 2020

    Honestly will only purchase CDs. Maybe that will change someday in the future when nothing is physical and my options are digital vs. nothing. But there is so much that IS still being released on disc, and I absolutely choose to spend my money on that instead of digital.

    I’m a bit surprised about the cost talk. You can press 300 CDs for ~$450, and thus wouldn’t you break even on the CD manufacturing costs at around 50 copies or so? I know there are other costs that go into a complete soundtrack release, but wouldn’t those other costs be shared by a digital-only release?

  • Peter - October 18, 2020

    I love digital downloads and really hope that you’ll be able to move more into that area. Especially if it allows you to experiment and bring out more of the great obscure titles you are so good at. If I’m honest, it kind of saddens me to read all the ‘CD OR NOTHING’ comments, because for me I just love getting the music in some format. I don’t really care about autographs etc. Not in comparison with the music itself, anyway. The digital option is especially attractive for me bring out of the US. So the savings are considerable. So in short…I’d love to see ALL the soundtrack labels step far more into downloads.

  • Jeremy - October 16, 2020

    Digital is inevitable, but I prefer the physical medium. From a collecting standpoint, there is no satisfaction in downloading a file to keep. Sure the music is conveniently contained on my computer like any word processor document file on the desktop and it may sound better than a CD (and far better than any LP) but digital downloads are just so disposable whereas a CD & LP is something “treasured” and then shelved like a good book for later consumption.

  • Johan - October 14, 2020

    Only CD/Vinyl for me.

  • Brian D - October 11, 2020

    I prefer the physical media more so than a digital download.

  • Jesper Mikkelsen - October 05, 2020

    Digital Flac 24 bit please. Whenever I buy a cd The first thing I do is rip it to a harddisk, and then listen to it with Roon software.

  • Angel G. Romero - October 02, 2020

    I only buy physical CDs. I appreciate the digital downloads you offer with the combo editions, but I would never purchase a digital only release. After more than 40 years collecting music (first in vinyl format, and then in CD), I’ve reunited an impressive amount of records. More than once in recent years, I’ve thought what would I do in case the music I love were released only as a download. It’s clear for me: I would stop buying, and would consider my music collection completed.

  • Jeffrey McMahan - October 02, 2020

    I’ve been collecting for decades, but I’m fine with either CDs or high-resolution downloads. I like when your CD releases include the high-quality digital copy. Usually, I store the CD “just in case” and use the digital version. I listen to CD-quailty and high-res digital files on iTunes through my macMini and sound system. Nothing compressed for in-house listening. Also, I bought 192hz, 24bit digital releases of all the Star Wars re-releases and the new scores rather than the CD versions. That said, I still buy CDs from boutique shops of great archival scores…just include “previously unreleased” on the packaging and ya got me…..and I’ve started buying LPs again…but that another crazy story for another crazy time…..

  • Dennis G Corbisier - October 02, 2020

    Most of us prefer the physical copy. That said it it keeps you in business, the last option you gave of physical copies for better known soundtracks and digital for lesser known music would be the way to go. Or perhaps and no one likes to hear this. And increase of a couple of dollars on your physical media to offset the higher costs.

  • GLENN R WARREN - October 02, 2020

    Hi Guys,

    I love CDs and believe me, I have SO many scores by SO many Composers on that format, I would be more than happy to purchase my favorite Composer Morton Stevens from you as a download if such a download was offered instead of a CD. After all, it is really all about the music and I for one just adores the work of Mr. Stevens. Thank You!

  • Phil - September 30, 2020

    Cd’s for me. Collectors prefer a physical copy , and collecting for over 30 years lp and cd, Would hate to lose that option.

  • Frank - September 30, 2020

    No autographs with a download. Nuff said

  • Terry Davis - September 26, 2020

    CD’s ONLY! I prefer the physical copy. They are always available and I do not have to depend on a computer. (Except for my iTunes Library). No downloads for me. If the CD’s eventually stop being made, I will no long purchase music.

  • Alain - September 24, 2020
    I never bought downloads…As I never used Kindle for reading books..At home my books are physical on shelves..

    And my CDs are also on shelves…For me I’ll buy only CDs as I’ll buy only books…And the composer autograph on most of your CD releases is an essential bonus for me…

  • Juergen - September 24, 2020

    CD !!!

  • Richard - September 24, 2020

    I definetly prefer CDs. I have to admit, that I also digitalize every CD for back-up an mobile listening, but download-only wouldn’t be an alternative.

  • Stefan - September 24, 2020

    I’m from Germany and postage costs and additional custom fees have stopped me from buying CDs overseas. So I’m just in the transformation from CD to Digital. The music and the liner notes are now essential for me and so Buysountrax is great in offering downloads.

  • Matt - September 23, 2020

    I still love physical media and echo the sentiments of those above – I’ll only get a digital album if that’s the only way you can purchase it. Or if, for instance, a deleted CD is going for hundreds of pounds, yet the digital download is £6.99… For my favourite albums by my favourite composers, I want a real, tangible object that can’t be taken away from me if a streaming service loses the rights or a company goes out of business and there is no way to re-download the album if whatever device I’ve been using to store it fails. I can appreciate the difficult spot you’re in, but can’t help but express how sad I’d be if download-only becomes the way forward. Amazon’s approach of giving you a free mp3 version with a CD/vinyl means we’re kind of spoiled now!

  • Stefan Minder - September 23, 2020

    I like both but by now I only buy limited editions and expanded editions on CD because there usually is no download or streaming option. Also there is shipping and taxes to consider so I really love it that I can just buy and download it at a reasonable price from your website!

  • Dick Johnson - September 23, 2020

    I still prefer CDs, it’s something that you can own, something to hold in your hand.

  • Michael Woodring - September 23, 2020

    I nearly never buy digital unless it’s absolutely the only way to get something by a musician or composer that I must have. I have been buying music since the early ’80s, so I still think of a music collection as being made up of physical items. Although I have many music files, I think of them as ancillary to the physical product.

    It doesn’t help that the price and perceived value of digital music is all over the place. For instance, if you buy a physical item on Bandcamp, you almost always get the digital files for free. Musicians offer “name your price” for some digital downloads. However, you also have the cost of the digital version of a release being only a couple of dollars less than the CD. If you often see the price of digital files being close to $0, then at times it can feel like playing more than $0 is overpaying. Obviously, it’s not true, but it can feel that way.

  • Wayland Strickland - September 23, 2020

    I prefer CDs but if the digital download files are 24 bit uncompressed .wav files then I would be ok with digital files delivered in a .zip file.

  • Petr Kocanda - September 23, 2020

    Another way could be something similar to kickstarter when the CD is produced only with eg particular number of copies is pre-ordered or share of production costs is covered – I am more than happy to contribute well into tripple digits to make ANY release involving the particular composer (or a few of them) happen. But something like KS would take much more time and could be way too complicated to organize when it comes to more than just a handful of releases a year.

  • Petr Kocanda - September 23, 2020

    CDs only for me… although I do really appreciate the opportunity to download anything immediately after purchase for free – if only more labels would consider it especially in this day and age when shipping anything overseas still takes months – compared to usual week or two…

    But regarding the price – I have no problem paying extra if it would be something I’d really like (eg INHUMANOID, Shapiro collection…) and happily get multiple copies too…

  • Uwe Sperlich - September 23, 2020

    It’s as simple as that: I don’t buy digital downloads. I’ve got Spotify for that. It’s ok if they’re an add-on to a physical release, but a digital product without physical? No. I’d love to own a copy of Mark Isham’s wonderful score for the Disney+ movie TOGO, but it’s only available digitally. So I’ll listen to it on Spotify.

  • John Bijl - September 23, 2020

    With only the environment in mind, I don’t care for the plastic. There’s enough for that already. The shipping costs are a second. I roughly pay the price of half a cd to get one across the pond.

    And when you argue that you’ll be able to produce more of these wonderful and sometimes obscure releases (that Don Davis score is gorgeous!), I’m sure I’m over the loss of physical objects.

  • David Gawne - September 23, 2020

    I really prefer the CD’s. I agree you could go digital only for releases that may be more niche and stick to physical for bigger titles but for me personally physical is the only option as I like to actually own something rather than a file that can be currupted or deleted etc.

  • Ruslan - September 23, 2020


  • Ruslan - September 23, 2020

    It seems to me that in digital too … but there really are many who want to get their favorite soundtrack on CD.
    For me personally, it is very profitable to buy music digitally (It’s easier and faster this way). In addition, in the country where I live, the purchase of such music in physical form is associated with two problems: damaged goods, high cost.
    If it weren’t for the digital downloads, it would be very difficult for me to get my favorite soundtrack.
    By the way, many thanks to YOU ​​for the possibility of such downloads. (at the present time, not many labels provide such an opportunity)

  • Ruslan - September 23, 2020

    It seems to me that in digital too … but there really are many who want to get their favorite soundtrack on CD.
    For me personally, it is very profitable to buy music digitally (It’s easier and faster this way). In addition, in the country where I live, the purchase of such music in physical form is associated with two problems: damaged goods, high cost.
    If it weren’t for the digital downloads, it would be very difficult for me to get my favorite soundtrack.
    By the way, many thanks to YOU ​​for the possibility of such downloads. (at the present time, not many labels provide such an opportunity)

  • Edward - September 23, 2020

    If you go digital, make it possible to print out the J-Card and tray inserts in HQ pictures. I download quite a lot from King Crimson and they provide printable inserts.

  • scott weinfeld’s - September 22, 2020

    digital if it 24bit wave

Leave a comment