Things That Suck: CD Cases.

If ever there was a case that truly justified the overused expression “We can put a man on the moon but we can’t… whatever, this is it.

We can put a man on the moon but we can’t make CD cases that don’t self destruct on contact.

They’re not highly confidential messages from Chief Quimby to Inspector Gadget goddamn it.
They’re not highly confidential messages from Chief Quimby to Inspector Gadget goddamn it.

Since their inception in 198- CD cases have been ass. I’m talking specifically about the “jewel case” which is by far the most common and if you own any CDs at all chances are 98% of them have this design.

Bizarrely, despite their numerous and obvious flaws, there has never been any significant advances in CD case technology. The cases that were first mass produced in the early 80’s are exactly the same as the ones we still use today.

It’s insane.

The key issue is this: The thing you’re trying to protect is decidedly more resilient than the thing that’s protecting it. It’s equivalent to putting a tank inside a person.

History has proven that never ends well.
History has proven that never ends well.

What do you do with CDs? You take them out of their case, put them in your CD player, listen to the music, and then place it back in its case. Copious amounts of times.

Why are they not sufficiently durable to handle this expected repetition!?

Shockingly, I like to keep everything I purchase in pristine condition for as long as humanly possible. I’m not a huge consumerist, but when I throw my money down I try my hardest to make whatever I’ve bought last.

This is nigh on impossible to do with CD cases.

An open field = a better alternative.
An open field = a better storage alternative.

The main issue is the teeth. Those spiky little spikes designed to hold the CD in place. I can only assume that’s what they are designed to do because if I was told that they were actually designed to hold the CD in place until purchase then break off spontaneously at the slightest touch I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

If somehow your CD case overcomes the odds and manages to survive the hardcore rigours of gentle handling with all its teeth intact, more likely than not, an arm will snap off. The little hinges that help the cover open and close have all the durability of Samuel L. Jackson in Unbreakable.

Even the tactile strength of the plastic used to construct these little squares of bastardry is suspect. For example: you can drop a plastic cup, a bottle of juice, a mobile phone, a remote control or any other number of plastic based products and they pull through relatively unscathed. Drop a CD case on the floor and it shatters like a bottle being hurled against a brick wall.

All of my rage.
All of my rage.

The wretched conditions that afflict the case also have no congruence.

You can purchase a CD and 15 minutes later an arm has snapped off, all the teeth have been demolished and have, somehow, entirely disappeared. Conversely, you can own a CD for years and the case will never break an arm or lose a tooth.

It’s completely random.

I, for one, am thankful music has now moved beyond being kept in RIDICULOUSLY easy to break cases and found a new home on the relatively damage resistant internet.

Sure, music has lost some of its majesty and mystique in the shift. Mp3’s have no liner notes for example. It’s far too easy to bounce between artists/genres/eras on a whim. And, in this age of the disposable single, the musical journey an album could take you on is all but dead.

But at least the age of the godforsaken CD case is behind us forever. They sucked.

5 thoughts on “Things That Suck: CD Cases.

  1. Agreed. Everything a plastic case does could be done with a cardboard case, and be recyclable to boot. And cheaper to produce. A moot point though if you’ve gone completely digital.

      1. Sleeves. There was usually a paper inner sleeve as well as the cardboard outer sleeve, and the inner sleeve often got crumpled. Oh, and the size, obviously. They take up a LOT of space.

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