Thursday, February 26, 2009

Metal Artwork in an Online World

Interesting article on about the trials and tribulations of bringing metal into the age of the music download. The problem isn't a fear of piracy, mind you - at least not for this article - but losing the connection to the art work that metal musicians, designers and label executives feel is a big part of what makes the music so special.

Unlike many of the musicians quoted in the article, my music experience has been almost entirely art-less: I had (and still have) a large CD collection, but ever since transferring my CDs to those big books in college, I haven't spent a lot of time digging through booklets...and I do so even less now, when all of my collection lives on my hard drive. To be honest, while I can see the point that both the writer and many of his sources are making, a lot of the article comes off as the reflections of an older, less with-it crowd that hasn't quite accepted where the world of music is heading (particularly when they don't realize that "online" and "digital" are not synonymous and that CDs are a form of digital music production): physical publishing is going to become much more of a sideline as we progress. While I agree artwork should still be part of the equation, as the world goes more and more online and the browser becomes a bigger and bigger center of what we do with computers, I suspect that companies will be publishing the extras that come with buying an album online instead - and unlike what's suggested by some, it won't be with an eye towards making printable copies. After all, if you can look at the same size artwork as you would on an LP on your computer screen, or pick out the details on a phone screen the size of a CD cover, and get added features in the digital version that you'd never get in print, why spend the time making a printable booklet?

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