If you used to follow my Filter & Splice blog, perhaps you saw my post about album art and lyrics cards. Having grown up with vinyl albums, I enjoy the tactile nature of album covers and lyric sheets. Cassette tape inserts and CD booklets, though smaller, still met my desire to have something to look at and flip through while listening to music. With digital downloads, we have to satisfy ourselves with looking up lyrics and band art online. It’s a sad substitute as far as I’m concerned. I could say something about kids these days not knowing what they’re missing by not having CD booklets, but they aren’t going to miss what they haven’t had. It’s the Gen Xers and older who are seriously pining for what we’re losing. Or are we losing anything at all? And is it possible that kids these days are actually missing what they haven’t had?
I found this article from Time Magazine about how vinyl albums are making a comeback, and not just among the old folks (that’d be me!) who are nostalgic for the past. Kids are discovering the wonders of album art and photo and lyric inserts, along with the great sound vinyl provides in comparison to digital music. Hurray for the return of vinyl! No worries about finding a turntable to play records on, either. For a while, you couldn’t find one anywhere except in a rare audiophile shop tucked away in a giant city. Now you can find a combo turntable/CD player/cassette player/mp3 player at your nearest Target. (My in-laws bought one around Christmas time.)
In addition, Radiohead is contributing to the tactility of music through the release of its CD version of “In Rainbows.” Of course, most of us have heard about the ground-breaking way Radiohead released “In Rainbows” in its digital version. The band put it online without a price and said, “Pay what you want.” From the articles I’ve seen online, the experiment worked pretty well. I’m not sure how many people are aware of what Radiohead has done with its CD and I wasn’t until one of my email pals sent me this link to a YouTube video. If you haven’t got time to watch it, the CD comes with a design-your-own cover kit. Now that’s bringing the tactile back to music.