Now I Know: What Do You Do With a Million Unused CDs?

This is a re-run from 2015 -- enjoy!. -- Dan
 

What Do You Do With a Million Unused CDs?

Let’s say you were a musician. You work hard for a year writing and producing (and singing, of course) a new album, and, when you finally release it, buyers rush to the store with their money in hand. Over 50,000 copies sell on the day of the release, which is doubly impressive because you launched your album only in the UK (where, hypothetically, you’re from). Nearly another 100,000 copies sell over the course of the debut week and the album tops the national charts. Ultimately, the album goes “platinum” many times over, and you sell well over two million copies in Europe alone and probably around five million worldwide.

That sounds great, right? Right. But for record label EMI, it was, well, not.

The musician whose story is told above isn’t a hypothetical person. He’s Robbie Williams, one of the UK’s most well-known singers. (North Americans who can recall 1999 likely remember his only major success in this hemisphere, Millennium, but if not, listen/watch here. The song topped the UK charts and is the only Robbie Williams song to make the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.) In October 2002, Williams signed a four-album contract with EMI Records which, according to the BBC, earned him a UK-record £80 million (or about $125 million), still a record for music contracts in the nation. The first two albums Williams delivered were unqualified successes; the first, Escapology, sold over two million copies in the UK and more than a million more in Germany alone; the second, Intensive Care, sold an estimated 6.2 million copies worldwide. But the third album, Rudebox, didn’t do as well. Rudebox came out in 2006 and, although it topped out at five million, that took nearly a decade — and besides, EMI was expecting to sell about a million more.

And they had already produced those extra million CDs.

For two years, millions of copies of Rudebox sat idle, unsold and undistributed to retailers. The CDs were seemingly destined for the landfill, but in 2008, EMI found a buyer — maybe — for the extra inventory: an unnamed Chinese company that wanted every single leftover copy.

But the buyers in China weren’t CD stores, or, for that matter, interested in Williams’ music at all. The buyers weren’t retailers or wholesalers or anything of the sort — they were road builders. Specifically, as reported by Contact Music, EMI crushed the CDs and shipped them off to China so that the pulverized discs could be “used in street lighting and road surfacing projects.”  Apparently, crushed CDs make for good road safety.

Whether EMI made any money on the deal went unreported — it's possible that they simply wanted the CDs out of its warehouses and found a company willing to haul them away. Either way, in some areas of China, the streets are paved aren’t quite paved with gold, but they are paved with an album that went platinum.



Now I Know is supported by readers like you. Please consider becoming a patron by supporting the project on Patreon. 

Click here to pledge your support. (If you do, in gratitude, you'll have an ad-free Now I Know experience going forward.)

Bonus fact: Billboard has a different chart for all different genres of music. In 2004, the music-measuring magazine announced that they’d start measuring ringtones, trying to determine which are the most popular in any given week. For reasons unclear, the last time the chart was updated was in November of 2014.

From the Archives: Remember all those AOL CDs? There were more than you think.
Like today's Now I Know? Share it with a friend -- just forward this email along.
And if someone forwarded this to you, consider signing up! Just click here.
Share Share
Tweet Tweet
Forward Forward
Archives · Privacy Policy

Copyright © 2022 Now I Know LLC, All rights reserved.
You opted in, at http://NowIKnow.com via a contest, giveaway, or the like -- or you wouldn't get this email.

Now I Know is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Some images above via Wikipedia.

Now I Know's mailing address is:
Now I Know LLC
P.O. Box 536
Mt. Kisco, NY 10549-9998

Add us to your address book


Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your email address or unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp

Older messages

Now I Know: The Politics of Being Grossed Out

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

What can maggots and spoiled milk can tell us about our political beliefs View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Yes, I took the test linked below. Yes, it roughly matched

Now I Know: The €222 Million Nap

Monday, May 9, 2022

Or about $295 million, if you're American View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives Hope you had a good weekend! -- Dan The €222 Million Nap It's Monday morning, at least

Now I Know: The "Named For a Person" Challenge or Something?

Friday, May 6, 2022

It's the Now I Know Weekender! View this email in your browser · Missed an issue? Click here! If you're new to Now I Know, you'll notice that today's format is different than the rest

[Now I Know Offers] Take Noom’s Free Quiz to Kickstart Your Health Journey

Thursday, May 5, 2022

It's a great day to start something new As I mentioned last month, this is a paid email from my friends at Noom. They're great and you should absolutely try their service. But if you really don

Now I Know: The Figuratively-Easter, Literally-Egg Easter Egg

Thursday, May 5, 2022

How to eat in code? View this email in your browser · Missed one? Visit the Archives If you don't know what an easter egg is in this context, the title won't make sense. Click here and it will.

Virtual Hugs vol. 1 | #70

Thursday, May 19, 2022

A new series for your bad days ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Play the long game = win

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Your host today is Peep Laja, Founder at CXL If you sell to B2B (5+ figure ACV). 1. Make a list of every company that should become a customer in the next 5 years. 2. Involve them in your media machine

The Podcast Show 2022 in London: speaker details

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Our Editor to moderate a panel on subscriptions 2.3 mins to read · Your daily briefing for podcasting and on-demand, with 22979 subscribers; issue #1299 · Subscribe to Podnews free; and join your peers

⭐️ The end... for now

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Hi friend. Today is the end of the Mighty Knowledge Newsletter and Blog. I've been thinking about this for the past few weeks and it was an incredibly hard decision. This community has been so, so

21 Retrospective Anti-Patterns

Thursday, May 19, 2022

From #NoRetro to Prisoners to Sprint Buffer to Boss Alert ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

6 things I *really really* like about ConvertKit

Thursday, May 19, 2022

I've tried every email sending company out there for my own businesses or for clients.....and I'm going to show you my #1 pick of them all. I've personally used: ​ ​• GetResponse ​• Aweber

🧙‍♂️ Paid Sponsorships with DealMaker, VIVAIA, Rainbow High, SLIQ Spirited Ice, M.M.LaFleur, and many more [May 19]

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Plus 5 Media Kit Mistakes ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

Understanding the painful past to move forward into the future

Thursday, May 19, 2022

This letter is different, and it goes deep and cuts straight to the bone. Ok, but why? One of the goals of letters is to provide knowledge on how you can improve your life. Self-help tips on how to

Good Morfternight Friend! – Wednesday, May 18th, 2022

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Issue 034: MQ Libelle, Printing a book, Estimating the value of 𝛑, and 1-1 meetings. Morfternight The Newsletter That Tickles Our Brains — issue 034|2022-05-18 Hello! I am Paolo Belcastro. You are

Wednesday, day#144

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Continuing our streak! ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌