Since their development in the 1980s, audio-CDs have become the most commonly used hard format for recorded sound in the world. Although soft formats, such as MP3 files, have to a certain extent taken over from compact discs, the CD remains a popular way to buy, sell and distribute music. The CD wholesale market is made up of many different music producers and labels, with a wide range of retailers selling their products. A typical CD trader will now sell directly through the internet and through general retailers, though record stores on the high street remain popular amongst passionate fans. Due to the lower production costs that a CD manufacturer can offer, shorter runs of professionally produced compact discs are now commonplace, meaning audio-CDs remain very popular as promotional items and are sometimes not sold at all, but given away. This is one effective method for upcoming musicians to promote their work. For any CD trader operating, promotional compact discs, often with low-cost cardboard sleeves, are an important part of their business.

Although it is well established format, there are many product innovations that have gone on with audio-CDs in the past. For example, sister formats like CD-MINI, Super Audio CD and Enhanced Music CD, or CD+, have all been developed, often requiring different coding to be used when the product is made. A CD manufacturer should be able to produce all of these format variants and to make multiple copies at one time, something that home-based CD copying software rarely affords. Keeping up to date with CD design, including adaptations to the class CD jewel box, means researching the latest products; something that is made easy at

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