ARE ALBUM/SINGLE COVERS ARE STILL ESSENTIAL EVEN FOR THE INDEPENDENT ARTIST? (PART 1)
Okay so once we used to be able to see, smell, and breathe musical activity via live performances. Now if we can’t make it to V Festival to save on the mass spending of £30-50 (or $50-$80) on individual acts or performers I guess we will settle for digital downloads instead.
Some arguments I have collected by people over 30 is that ALBUM/SINGLE covers in the traditional sense (you know with the front, inlay, back, spine) commissioned and handled by a graphic designers for the sole purpose of promoting the artist, capturing the concept, and giving a message – is an unnecessary expense in this day and time, especially for the unsigned artist.
Here are some reasons behind the argument:
- Downloads don’t need images
- You can’t feel a downloaded MP3
- MP3 downloads are too frequent to spend on cover designs
The album covers I used to take out of the CD when I was a kid, got you to write back, give thanks, order merchandise etc. The act of visualising and feeling the music was entirely separate than the listening which could be going on in the background.
Now with digital downloads/twitter and interaction like never before why would an album cover still be essential?
- To conceptualize the artist frame of mind and feeling at the time
- To give value to the monument of the many cuts, and jams that were going on in the studio – a selection, a shortlist that the artist chooses to release.
How could we remember the differences between Temples of Doom to Black Sunday by Cyrpress Hill? Temples had it’s own tone rightly captured in grainy grey aqua hue blue. As did Black Sunday in sepia.
Or how could KASABIAN (above) get their message across if not for the cover?
How could U2 tell their audience that at the moment POP was what they were thinking if not for the album cover?
If these three examples were executed using Flickr, Facebook Accounts, and or Twitter, would their striking image, shock value at a record shop, and album launch message would be subject to the passing of the tweet, Instagram, and altogether meshed into the many, many levels of information in the social media context?