Album Art

The lost art of the album conversation.

I remember one episode of WRKP in Cincinnati, where Dr. Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap say; “Let’s go look at Carly Simon album covers.” It was a great way to hang out and talk with friends – in person.

That was a popular thing to do and made more popular by those record executives that hired artists to create artistic albums. A collection of art both inside and out. Some albums became more famous for the art on the outside than the inside. Inside out sales.

The album art was also used to establish the concert posters and assorted merchandise that becomes branded around musicians latest offering. It all makes sense when you think about it. We brand everything now. The more you get the same visual message out to compliment the audio – the more you sell. Marketing 101.

Then came the CD. We all ran out to buy copies of our album collection on this new format. Those futurist people must have plans for us that require the need for a new music format that will eliminate the dreaded needle skip. It seems a lazer is going to provide us the audio feedback. Well that’s all good and wonderful; but, what about the album art?  Surely, you cannot expect us to huddle around the lazer disc player staring at the jewel case enclosure for a CD as a substitute. Essentially, that ended the album art.

Those oddly shaped lazer players became recorders. Burners is the more appropriate term. The lazer actually burns a signature into the CD which in turns is picked up by the lazer eye for playback. We hadn’t made our own mixture of hits since the cassette tape player. Now the burning process is way easier and the sound quality – well, it’s okay. But, the simplicity of doing the burn and sharing only the best songs off any album was excellent. Let’s not forget the CD player as a factory install in all new cars. We were ready for the future, weren’t we?

The CD coaster. Worked pretty good. A little slippery sometimes. But if you let the stains build up – the stains help keep the glass stationary. The problem with the Coaster idea was with the dude who used your newly burnt CD as a coaster. Scratches were not kind to the CD. Someone from one of those future companies is certainly laughing at us all while cashing their pay cheque.

What if we only need the file format as a music source and completely skip the whole album, CD, jewel case issue altogether. That sounds great and it does simplify a lot of things. Except how does anyone make any money? The Musicians already started to lose money with the CD burners and now this MP3 format. Ask a kid what the name of their favorite band is. They don’t know. These kids only identify to the sound of MP3 and to what their friends have downloaded or bluetoothed from ipod to iphone.  No album art, no jewel case to read and learn about the artist.  As an option, you can go online and visit the artist website to read and learn about their creative process. But, that is to smart and simple for the kids. Instead they sit at the computer and read what their friends think on Facebook.

I miss the art of conversation and music.


2 responses to “Album Art

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