Collectible Blank CDs Aimed at ‘Rings’ Fans

Share via
Times Staff Writer

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.

In a nod to the popularity of CD burners, Apple Computer Inc. and Time Warner Inc.’s Reprise Records label today will begin marketing blank “Lord of the Rings”-themed CDs.

The companies are aiming for fans to purchase the CD and use it to store a digital copy of the film soundtrack bought online.

As part of the promotion, the label will sell three different blank CDs outfitted with images from Time Warner’s “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” film. Apple’s iTunes Music Store will offer the recordable CDs, which will sell for $4.99, exclusively today through Jan. 5.


The offering comes as major labels have been scrambling to reverse a three-year sales slump -- much of which they blame on the rise of free file-sharing networks and the practice of “burning” digital music files to blank CDs.

But label executives said the practice had become so mainstream that it made sense to try incorporating it into their business.

“We want to adapt to the consumer habit,” said Robin Bechtel, chief of new media for Warner Bros. Records and Reprise Records. “For a while, this has been the next logical step.”

Label executives are pitching the blank CD as a collectible item. Reprise will press 1,000 copies of each of the three discs, and each will be numbered.

After the Apple promotion, the label will auction the first 50 numbered copies of each of the three disc designs on EBay, label officials said. Another numbered run will be sold through New Line Cinema’s Web site.

Reprise may begin selling blank CDs tied to other album releases at traditional music retail stores next year.