What is your current stance is regarding the reported plight of artwork in this digital era?
I find it difficult to give you an answer that is a general view on the subject. My own personal opinion for the way I experience the subject is I find it difficult to connect to the music the same way when it is just a file on the computer than when I have it as a physical object. I think there is more than one reason to it, the physicality of the album itself, the way of purchase (even if I just get it of amazon, I have to wait for it, unwrap it etc) the image on a piece of paper that I can move around, everything that comes with an album as well. I have a very large digital music library on my computer, both copied from friends or my own CDs but I often just listen to the actual CD or LP. It is also easier to choose music this way.
What do specific music formats symbolise for you: vinyl, tapes, CDs and MP3s. Culturally? Aesthetically? Technologically?
Vinyl symbolizes the best way to communicate with music for me. Its a bit nostalgic and also it makes me feel a bit different from a lot of other people who consume music in a more disposable way.
Tapes - tapes were kinda cool when I was at school but I don't really miss them.
CD - although an ugly form I still like CDs because they are easy to handle and only have one side. Although I like the ritual of changing sides on a vinyl it is a ritual and sometimes its easier to just dump something on the stereo and get uninterrupted 70 minutes.
MP3's - I really don't like music on the computer. On the other hand I LOVE my iPod. There is something really intimate and special in listening to music that way. It is a bit like being alone with your music at home, but having other visuals.
What do you make of the personal investment in and reverence of specific formats? Their fetishism, notalgia, sentimentality, etc?
I think there is something very charming about vinyl collectors, however, it is very clear that this is an 'exotic' hobby these days. There is some sort of antagonism, a need to do something different in these people usually. I respect everybody's way to enjoy music and I think that the reason a lot of people are into MP3s are because they are more of casual listeners. People who are more into their music will probably still have a stereo.
What about the download age? Where do you think this leaves the physical music 'product' in an age where it's not required just to aid distribution?
As I mentioned before I think physical media will become more and more exotic. I always thought people will have the need to hold an album, but when I see my younger brother who NEVER bought a CD in his life although he is really into music, I think I might need to change my mind about it.
And what do you think this means in terms of the earlier assumption that music artwork = packaging? What possibilities do you think this may present for designers?
I think there is a magical connection between music and visual but it might take other formats in the future. I think at some point all digital media will be moving and/or interactive. I think that would also be the case with artwork for music: some sort of hybrid between album artwork and music video.
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