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What Is A Digipak?

By Sammy of Stone Marmot

July 11, 2008

Our band, Stone Marmot, chose to use Digipaks for the package for both of our CDs. The Digipak is a cardboard package reminiscent of the old vinyl LP record covers, but is a lighter stock. One of our CDs is in an 8 panel Digipak, the other a 6 panel Digipak. Eight panel means that, when folded fully open, it has 8 panels of which 4 are on one side and 4 are on the other. Seven of these panels have artwork on them, with the remaining panel, which is one of the innermost panels when it is folded fully closed, has a plastic tray glued to it which holds the CD. This plastic tray is similar to the (usually) black plastic tray that holds the CD and snaps into the standard clear plastic jewel case.

The reasons we chose to use the Digipak are:

1) The Digipak is more environmentally friendly than the standard plastic jewel case. Digipak use about 65 % less plastic than typical jewel cases. That is why some of the more famous bands that make a point of being environmentally conscience, such as Pearl Jam (their "Riot Act" CD, for example) and The Police (their "Every Breath You Take - The Classics" CD) use Digipaks.

2) We think it looks much nicer than the jewel case and its folded inserts. Everyone who has seen them also agrees that it looks nicer and more professional.

3) It is more convenient than jewel cases. Taking the folded inserts in and out of standard jewel cases is a pain and is a deterrent to reading the lyrics. Digipaks unfold and fold so easily that you can't help but to check out the lyrics.

4) On a display with a bunch of other CDs, the Digipak stands out. It's another way to get people to notice your CD over all others.

5) It weights about 75 % as much as a standard jewel case, so it does save some on shipping charges as well as energy to transport them.

The disadvantages are:

1) It is often more expensive. All else being equal, Digipaks will typically cost you between 0 to 35 % more, depending upon your quantities and who you buy them from.

2) It is generally less rugged. If you splashed water on your CD package, the Digipak will be damaged before a jewel case and its contents, though the Digipak will probably be OK if wiped fairly quickly after the spill. The Digipak will also probably show more wear and tear than a jewel case if handled roughly. But then again, all my album covers from the 1970s are still intact whereas I have broken a couple of jewel cases and torn some inserts.

Otherwise, they are compatible with jewel cases. For example, they are the same size, fit in every CD rack we have tried, and you can still put top spine stickers on them. I understand that Digipaks are more common in Europe, though I can't confirm that.

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