Even CD Pirates Get the $100/barrel Blues.

I’m going to be traveling for the next couple of days, and unlikely to post again before the end of the week. So, in parting, allow me to leave you with a curiosity.

Recently I’ve found that Shanghai’s pirate CD industry is beginning to favor boxes made from fiberboard laminated with a fine wood grain finish. As a child of the Seventies, this awakens something primal in me, so I’m not complaining. But it does seem curious. For example, this CD below.

Just to be clear: the “dust jacket” is behind the paneled box. My question is this: in Pirate Land, is it suddenly cheaper to source CD boxes glued together from wall panel fragments than it is to purchase plastic boxes? And if so, could this be one more sign that oil prices are starting to impact Chinese manufacturers and retailers?

After the jump, a close-up of the surprisingly fine workmanship than went into the CD packaging.


  1. When do you suppose the ipod craze will hit china? I have yet to make the transition and still buy cds here in America. I love the 19th century finish being applied to this 20th century, but still very satisfactory technology.

  2. John – I can often be found on Dagu Lu.
    Erik – Oh dear. The ipod craze – or, more specifically, the mp3 player craze – has been well-established here for several years now. Illegal music downloads are unquestionably the leading means for obtaining music, and there is no turning back. Me, I’m with you on the CDs (pirate or otherwise). Downloads are wonderfully convenient, but the sample rate, and thus the sound quality, is often sub-par. In my experience, one is better off buying a CD, ripping it at a high bit rate, and then uploading it to the ipod.

  3. just go pick up some bootleg cds at a ridiculously low price…they are everywhere in Shanghai…and they are original copies. rip them and synchronize them to ur ipod~ done

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