The Physical vs. The Intangible

Is the packaging (liner notes, album art, etc.) that comes with the physical CD/Vinyl formats important to you? Or do you view it as a complete waste?

For me it gives a deeper understanding of the artist and the process that went into the making of the album. The cover art is probably the most important for me, especially when it’s done right and reflects what style of music lies within. Of course album art, lyrics and recording details took a dive when the format switched from LP to CD. Microscopic and illegible are words that spring to mind. And the impact of the cover just isn’t the same. I can remember sitting next to my stereo, with headphones on and staring and consuming the album art and its liner notes like a starving man on a desert island. It was a very important part of my enjoyment.

I know some people that have ditched the physical altogether; either downloading what they had into their computer libraries and selling off their disks, or downloading then boxing up and packing away the physical, just in case of an emergency. Still others have only ditched the jewel case and store them in those CD binders.

I can’t picture doing any of the above. I still have a CD shelf I keep them in, alphabetically by band and in chronological order. Seeing them there gives me a very real sense of comfort. I have most of them backed up on a hard drive, and some of my MP3 only tunes I have backed up on DVD’s.

When it comes to movies I could care less about the packaging. I am warming up to the concept of reading and storing books on a tablet device. But not my music.