Some 30 years after "Video Killed the Radio Star," the Internet is destroying the CD business, systematically bombing away at the brick-and-mortar retailers that still carry compact discs. By 2016, record sales will have dropped by more than 75 percent, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"Times have changed," admits Day Music Died frontman Gabriel Fernandez. "The majority of things are digital." That includes his group's latest album, Elephant in the Room, DMD's first experiment with digital download-only distribution.
Released in February, Elephant in the Room is an unyielding record that's deeply rooted in alternative from the bygone era of 94.9 Zeta, "The Rock Station" — only minus the cellophane wrapping and nearly impossible-to-peel case tape.
"I love getting a CD and reading the liner notes. But our funds are very limited. As much as we'd love to print in other mediums, we have to make money," says keyboardist Humberto Casanova.
"And when he says 'make money,' " frontman Fernandez interjects, "we're not talking about taking money home. We're taking about making money to reinvest in the band."
In fact, Day Music Died spent more than $10,000 recording and releasing physical copies of its first record, 2005's The Cardboard Score.
"Inexpensive for an album," Casanova says, but well beyond the means of a group of guys in their early 20s.
"To us, that album is beautiful; it's professional," Fernandez adds. "It was a great experience; it was legit. You touched it. You felt it. You heard it. But we reach as many people immediately with the digital for less money."
In addition to updated marketing tactics, Day Music Died has also elevated its game in the studio. This is a much tighter band compared with the "inexperienced studio musicians" who recorded The Cardboard Score, Casanova says. "That's the big difference between the two albums."
But little else has changed. The guys joke about how the members of this 12-year-old "family" still "go apeshit on each other" in the studio but always play their "asses off" at shows.
"There's nothing better than getting offstage and knowing you left everything on that stage," Fernandez says. "There's no other way to play."
This Saturday, the group will coheadline the second-annual Philanthrofest at Miami Dade College's Wolfson Campus. The event is aimed at connecting service-oriented individuals with philanthropic organizations around South Florida in an effort to increase volunteerism, community engagement, and donor investment.
For Casanova, Philanthrofest is an extension of his vision of a society where people selflessly help one another. In 2010, he cofounded PARK (Perform Acts of Random Kindness) with his fiancée, Marly "MarlyQ" Quincoces. The nonprofit organization helps other nonprofits, companies, and individuals reach common goals, while inspiring folks along the way.
"Marly is a monster," Casanova enthuses. "She started the Relay for Life at FIU and has well over 10,000 hours in community service."
"Yeah, she's a fucking saint, bro," Fernandez adds. "They both do so much good. These two people are outstanding."
After a friend lost his battle with pancreatic cancer at age 28, Fernandez asked PARK to help him raise funds for the victim's family this past January. The group organized an online fundraiser and held a benefit concert headlined by Day Music Died.
Not surprisingly, the band is also graciously lending its tunes to Philanthrofest's fundraising efforts, donating 50 percent of the proceeds from sales of precious, increasingly rare CDs.
So obviously, it's not just Casanova and Quincoces who are "outstanding... fucking saints." It's the rest of Day Music Died too.