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
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.