What can you do with extra CDs?
December 2, 2021 8:07 AM   Subscribe

For many years, the chorus I belong to produced CDs of our concerts. For the most part these are for member use only, because we did not obtain the rights to produce commercial recordings from our collaborating musicians (e.g. orchestra members). We stopped producing physical media a couple years ago (although we will burn on demand for technophobic members), but we have A LOT of CDs left - several hundred all in all, mostly in jewelbox cases.

As mentioned, for rights reasons selling them to non-members/friends and family is out even if there were a market for them, which realistically there's not.

We'll keep one or two copies of each for archival purposes (although we supposedly also still have the masters and cover art around somewhere).

We've had a "pay what you want" sale at rehearsals and we'll reach out to former members as well, so that anyone who really wants something can get it, but this is very unlikely to take care of all of the CDs. I think we currently have more CDs of Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle than we have members, definitely more copies than we have members with CD players.

So, is there any realistic non-landfill destiny for these CDs? Is anyone still making those AOL promotional CD disco balls and would want to take them off our hands? Or are we just going to need to bury them in the desert like those E.T. Atari games?
posted by mskyle to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you have a local artist collective, they may accept donations of materials that could be used in art projects/installations.
posted by _DB_ at 8:14 AM on December 2, 2021

Best answer: CDs and DVDs can be recycled but typically not via kerbside collection.
Google for a local recycling facility, just be sure to remove any paper liners first (also recyclable) and plastic film (not recyclable) covering the case.
posted by Lanark at 9:39 AM on December 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

It might be worth seeing if your local public or music department library, historical society etc. would like to collect a set of the recordings, but that still leaves you however-many.

In line with _DB_'s suggestion, many cities have organizations that distribute surplus materials to schools, community groups, artists etc. for creative (re)use. A past question indicated you were in the Boston area. If that's the case, here is a list (ca. 2014) of regional (New England) donation programs from the EPA. Places that popped up in a quick search that might be promising include Extras for Creative Learning in Lynn and The Beautiful Stuff Project in Somerville.
posted by wreckingball at 9:53 AM on December 2, 2021

With respect to some suggestions above: My understanding as a performing artist has been that audio recordings of live performances can be for internal use ONLY unless permission has been obtained from ALL the performers. There have been instances during my performing career in which I explicitly denied a request to record a performance in which I was a cast member. That means you can't give the CDs away to anyone outside of the chorus and, really, you shouldn't be selling the CDs even to chorus members.
posted by slkinsey at 10:32 AM on December 2, 2021 [2 favorites]

Also, consider contacting art teachers at a local school or seeing if your family members or folks in your chorus are into DIY crafts because folks have done some interesting things with CDs. Here are some additional ideas. Also, you can bake CDs into mosaic tiles (if toxic fumes do not worry you, at least). Good luck!
posted by Bella Donna at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2021

Best answer: If you're willing to pay some money you can send they CDs for recycling to Terracycle or you can order at technotrash box from Green Disk.
posted by brookeb at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: A couple of years ago our local library, that had a large CD lending collection, was happy to take a couple of boxes of empty CD cases - presumably a bunch get broken over time. So might be worth a look, leaving aside the issue of the CDs themselves.
posted by fabius at 5:46 AM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks everyone!
posted by mskyle at 10:15 AM on December 6, 2021

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