Does Digital Music Need Artwork?

from the changing-times dept

Digital music may be great for distributing songs, but some are upset about losing out on album cover art. Of course, plenty of cover art is available online, and some of the new download stores include the ability to offer cover art and information. However, not everyone does this or feels comfortable with it. There’s one interesting suggestion in the article: a band’s website is the new cover art. The problem with that, however, is that there’s no historic record of what their website looks like with each release. With a band, many people form some association between the cover art of an album and the music on that album. That’s much more difficult with a website that no longer exists. It is true that (at least for me) album cover art is closely associated with the music. I’ve found that to be especially true when I’ve ended up with used or pre-release CDs that don’t contain the cover art. When I later see the actual cover art it often is a bit jarring, because it doesn’t necessarily fit with how I’ve been experiencing the music. I recently ordered a CD online from a musician (directly from his website) who I’ve been a fan of for over a decade. There were some problems with the order, and eventually the musician just burnt me a copy of the CD and included a second CD with new stuff he was working on (along with a hand written note listing the songs and apologizing for the order taking “bloody forever”). In both cases, since the CDs have no artwork I’ve been having a little bit of trouble “picturing” the album in my head. I’d never realized that this happens, but it seems that I very closely associate the cover art with the music itself.

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Comments on “Does Digital Music Need Artwork?”

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Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Art is a great seller of music, Books, etc. First impressions are a must. I MISS full size albums for that reason alone. Many of my ‘give it a try’ buys were based solely on the art for the artists offering … and I’m still very much swayed by a books cover art presentation.

While many of these buys were just plain BAD, many got me interested in groups I would never have sampled otherwise.

Yeah, the art is important … it’s much like meeting person for the first time … APPEARANCES COUNT !!!

WIth the coming of the online stores, apple, napster, walmart, etc, we’re going to be innuedated with choices which eventually may have no art associated with them. I seriously doubt that we’re going to randomly click on a track to sample it UNLESS it’s already got good word of mouth …. or god forbid … a pop up add plays 30 seconds of the song to get you attention. hmmmmmmmmmm

Chris says:

No Subject Given

I bought my share of albums back in the 80’s based on the album cover art. Most of those albums sucked. Now I can sample the artist’s music online and thus I very rarely buy CD’s that I ultimately don’t like.

I grew up in the era of the album. I decorated my bedroom wall with album covers. There is nothing like a few Iron Maiden album covers over your bed to freak your parents out ;)I remember when CD’s were introduced. I don’t care about cover art anymore. I don’t read liner notes anymore either. When I get a new CD I burn a copy for the car, rip it to an MP3, and then the original CD gets put into my CD Jukebox and the case gets trashed. The only hard part of the process is deciding what gets removed from the jukebox and relegated to the auxillary CD storage where it will likely never get played again.

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