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Music and Packaging: Physical or Download?

Vinyl RecordsWhen we buy an album, naturally it’s the music, which attracts us to it – what we hear in terms of songwriting, melodies, instruments, arrangements, vocals, harmonies, lyrics; the feelings that the music awaken, and the images that we see. That’s what first and foremost makes us buy the music. But how much does the packaging itself matter? To many, music is just music – nothing more, nothing less. They’ll download whole albums or a few specific songs from each album. Packaging is non-existent, and they don’t pay any mind to it whatsoever. At best, they’ll download the album cover, and that’s it – that’s the closest they get to “packaging”. And if you question them about it – why packaging doesn’t mean anything to them – presumably they’ll look at you with a questioning glance.

And then there are those record-buyers to whom music is much more than just music. Of course the quality of the music is the paramount factor, but they also make demands for the very presentation of the music. To them, an attractive presentation adds that little extra appeal that contributes to creating an aesthetic all round experience, where music, cover artwork, album design and packaging compliment each other.

Whether packaging and presentation is of importance to the individual record-buyer probably depends on that person’s age and/or personality. To those of us, who grew up with vinyl records whose packaging was often an art-form in itself (especially the beautiful gatefold covers), CDs in jewel cases (plastic) – or even worse, music downloads – are cold, impersonal and soulless. Fortunately for those of us, who miss the old vinyl packaging – and for youngsters with a sense of aesthetics – the record companies increasingly choose to release the CDs housed in digipacks (thick cardboard covers looking like mini LP covers) instead of plastic. Presumably because they’ve realized that this is what it takes to get more record-buyers to buy the physical versions as opposed to downloading the music for free.

To the delight of those who love vinyl records, this format has experienced a revival in recent years. This format has made such a strong return that the majority of all new albums are being released on vinyl, and so are many old albums from the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s and '90s!


Posted by Thomas Thomsen on Saturday, December 22, 2012
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