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CBD Continues Limited Music Marketing in Print

On August 13th we reported on the very limited space now given to Christian music releases in the print catalogues offered by Christian Book Distributors (CBD) and the January-February 2014 catalogue continues this trend.

The copy I receive in the mail contains only one CD, on page 64, the back cover, which is an advertisement for Thrive, the new Casting Crowns album. The print version CBD encloses with shipments contains a half page music feature on page A16, consisting of ten pictured albums and four line listings. Eight of the pictures would fit in the contemporary category while a Hillsong Live CD and Matt Redman’s latest might be considered worship. Southern Gospel and traditional music albums are not represented at all.

CBD’s catalogs consist of regular numbered pages as well as a series of pages inserted into the middle in some editions, but not others.  So presumably everyone gets pages 1-64, and some people get pages A1-A32. (Does anyone know why they do this?) The music is on a half page in the insert section. The rest of the media pages in the catalog are devoted to DVDs.

CBD January February 2014

That’s half a page in 96 total pages, or approximately half of one percent of the entire catalogue. CBD offers ten specialty catalogues, but music is not one of them.  So the best we can do is repeat the questions we asked in August:

…Why has a major mail-order and online retailer chosen to so radically ed-emphasize its music department in print? Of course the downloads have never been listed in the print catalog but over the years CDs and accompaniment discs played a big part.

Is this a signal that music sales are declining faster than anyone wants to admit? What is CBD’s long-term strategy?

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