Let’s get phys­i­cal: the

Though CDs re­main the most pop­u­lar for­mat for mu­sic buy­ers, the plas­tic disc is in de­cline, un­der threat from down­loads both legal and other­wise. Some artists, la­bels and re­tail­ers are be­gin­ning a fight­back against the threat to phys­i­cal mu­sic re­leases wi

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -

IT’S BEEN a while since Jon Bon Jovi was de­scribed as any­thing close to a spokesman of a gen­er­a­tion, but his re­cent de­nun­ci­a­tion of down­load cul­ture res­onated more vo­cif­er­ously than ex­pected with mu­sic fans of a cer­tain vintage.

You could ar­gue that the rocker is be­ing more than a lit­tle ex­citable with his dra­matic state­ment that “Steve Jobs is per­son­ally re­spon­si­ble for killing the mu­sic busi­ness”, but in many ways he has a point. Al­though CDs re­main the most pop­u­lar for­mat for mu­sic buy­ers, their value has been di­min­ished by the con­ve­nience of MP3s, not to men­tion il­le­gal down­loads.

Nev­er­the­less there are bands, com­pa­nies and mu­sic fans still do­ing ev­ery­thing within their power to stay con­nected to the phys­i­cal world.

Last week The Flam­ing Lips an­nounced their plan to re­lease sev­eral new songs on a USB key en­closed in an edible jelly mould in the shape of a skull, with front­man Wayne Coyne telling Bill­board: “Ev­ery­body’s in the same quag­mire now. How do you re­lease mu­sic? What would be in­ter­est­ing? I’d just like to re­lease mu­sic all the time and just put it out in all kinds of weird for­mats and not just col­lect it un­til we’re ready to put out ev­ery two years or so.”

The White Stripes re­leased a slightly less wacky ver­sion of their al­bum Icky Thump on collectible USB keys in 2007, odd­ball in­diepop band Of Mon­treal bun­dled down­load codes of Skele­tal Lamp­ing with items rang­ing from a pa­per lan­tern to wall de­cals, and Laura Mar­ling made an event of her de­but al­bum by re­leas­ing it as a Song Box keep­sake. Even Tinie Tem­pah ap­pealed to his young de­mo­graphic by re­leas­ing a ver­sion of his al­bum as a collectible lan­yard with a down­load code at­tached. Nov­el­ties? Per­haps, but it sure beats the throw­away na­ture of a com­puter file.

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