Byrne on packaging and music

May 30th, 2006

Stef tips us off to an article on David Byrne’s blog about packaging and music.

At robotperson we’re progressive about the idea of ripping our music to a digital archive then eBaying the physical discs for cash. Although we’re still squeamish about the ‘getting rid of it’ part. Byrne says some interesting things about why we’re so addicted to the physical media:

We see the music and its package as all of a piece. This of course is what good packaging does. Salty snacks and washing detergents are sold mostly based on their brightly colored packaging. Most people don’t make this assumption about books — we don’t assume that the cover of a book is a visual representation of the writing, as imagined by the author, but with music we sometimes do make this leap. Hence the love of LP sleeves… and even CD booklets.

Byrne, like Bowie (and robotpeople!) seems to be progressive too, and comes down heavily on the side of digital over physical.

But downloads could offer so much more. They could be an opportunity to expand the experience rather than a whittling away of the music/image connection. For less than the price of printing those sleeves and CD booklets you could get slideshows, photos, videos, bios, credits, lyrics, merch…. some of this stuff could play on your MP3 player along with the music, the rest could be on your computer to view or print out. You could get way more than could ever fit on a dinky little CD booklet.

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