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March 02, 2005

Are Album Liner Notes and Artwork Becoming Extinct?

WSJ: As the music industry slowly transitions from a physical one to a virtual one, it should come as no surprise that digital downloads are basically stripped down versions of their vinyl and optical counterparts.  According to the article, "with digital downloads, album art is now barely bigger than a postage stamp, and liner notes and lyrics are basically gone."  While this is the current reality, it is too soon to tell if this trend will continue or if consumers will speak up and demand more from their compressed copies...(um, I mean purchases!)  Perhaps the most palatable solution will be to start including rich metadata and deep linking back to artist and record label websites with every audio file.  The good news is that most song lyrics can be found online for free, but do consumers really have the time to seek out things that used to be included as part of the purchase experience? (Login or subscription may be required to access article...)

Posted by Todd in General | Permalink


Are Album Liner Notes and Artwork Becoming Extinct?

If the song has a catchy melody, lyrics and just happens to grab people for whatever reason, it will sell no mater what fancy Artwork or Liner Notes are on the cover. And, it will sell no matter what file format or compression ratio you use. It's all about the music and the promotion of the music through sound as far as I'm concerned, although I realize that these days it's been more about artists that look like movie stars and selling sex. Eliminating cover art in the digital download age might help focus the importance on the song (music) itself without being eye dazzled with a piece of cheese cake in a short skirt. I hope so.

Jeff O'

P.S. I never posted a Blog before. Guess I'm not a virgin anymore!

Posted by: Jeff O' | Mar 2, 2005 8:15:05 PM

I'd like to see the lyrics and artwork available as an additional download for the rare occasions when i'm actually downloading the entire album, and not just a few songs...I'm not even opposed to an additional cost. This will allow the purist, the bargain shopper, and the hardcore fans to all peacefully co-exist. (well, maybe)

Posted by: joyce a | Mar 3, 2005 5:33:18 PM

GOOD GOD! Apparently no one seems to have a major problem with this!!! Okay I wasnt alive when 12s" were the thing but I did grow up in the age of the tape and the CD and the album art and the liner notes were my prime source for new goods. Now I read Rolling stone and whatever else but liner notes were the place to be especially when I started getting into jazz and other what at the time was semi obscure music. I remember buying my first Jimmy Smith record off of some obscure reference in a miles davis liner. I would rather suffocate myself with a paper bag than live a life without Jimmy Smith and for tha matter every other band and tidbit of info that thereof (the meters, grant green, charlie kynard...)And thats just the liners!
Far from being the corporate sexual engine that the above poster seems to suggest album art since the dawn of Rock and Rolll has been about a new form of communication between the band and their devotees. Would you do without the cover to Abbey Road, or Never Mind the Bollocks! This notion to me is entirely absurd
The idea that liners and coverwork are obscure and dispensible is to entirely undermine the history of popular music and the loss of them will in my mind seal its' coffin for many a year to come. music must revive and re-invigorate this dying art lest it risk its true depth for a hole in the ground!

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