Lets talk album cover art, packaging and making a connection.
Beautiful psychedelic record sleeves of the 70’s. Pulling down poignant band posters off a dingily lit street wall in the 90’s to put up in your flat. Amazingly long (a nightmare puzzle to refold) cassette tape inserts with handwritten lyrics. Record packaging that folds into a little working cardboard record player. CD packaging that folds to view stereoscopic artwork through embedded glasses. Tangible packaging, tangible memories and engagement with the artist. Let’s not forget that people want to forge more than a “huh cool/catchy single” relationship with a band to invest long-term in their musical journey. These tactile, clever design elements cemented a connection with a listener that lasted for more than the length of one shoe-gazer band. Think of that from just a selfish reptilian marketing perspective, die-hard long term buyers of not just this album or band but a long term investment. I feel amazed at how little MP3’s as a digital medium have been utilised to create immersive, artistic experiences around the music.
When MP3’s first came out, it surprisingly left large industry behemoths scrambling. When the dust settled from the initial “we’ll all go broke!” tanty they realised the money to be made and put back on their golden suits and made a truckload (streaming tunes are not classed as album sales and are seen as PR so the artists get even less of a cut). I assumed a few months in, we would start seeing animations, short films for songs, downloadable content on a large scale start to happen… but it didn’t really come about.
I feel this is exactly where things can get interesting again. We might not have as much tangible boxed art as such, but we could be doing a hell of a lot more digitally to accompany the MP3’s we download.
Virtual tours, animations/videos to each song, interactive art, games, tutorials, video lessons, sheet music, guitar tab, live streams with the band, behind the scenes docos, the bands personal recipes… the sky is the limit.
Let’s do this.