Stealing the past

Posted
7:54 PM 19 January 2004

I got some great CD’s as gifts over the holiday season just past. Not long before christmas I got a good laugh out of the What a crappy present site which recommends giving your kids spindles of blank CD-Rs before considering purchasing something which actually has music on it. According to his article in the Sydney Morning Herald, Peter Martin explains that the growing popularity of music sharing has made, if anything, a positive impact on CD sales.

Perhaps I’m showing my age when I say I still enjoy getting good music on CD. The tactile elements of a packaged original item have an appeal that is not catered for by a digital reproduction. I have predicted amoungst friends for some time now that the digtal revolution would not make physical media such as CDs redundant. My point being that we are still human so we still like things we can touch, hold and own.

My hope has been, from a designers perspective, that this function of a CD case would become better recognised. The purpose of the packaged CD to carry the purchased music data would become superseeded by more flexible and accessible digital media; Leaving the case as an object to communicate by other means.

The best example of this extra attention to the package is the box set — often featuring unusual materials and supported by printed material. The extra expense is justified and supported by the luxury of completeness that a box set typically offers.

Digital only versions of musicians work seems to be getting more accessible everyday. Tomorrow I get broadband internet access at home — one of the first places I will be revisiting is Warp records new online store Bleep. Speaking of Aphex Twin, Richard D. James was quoted the other day,

Despite the rushed release of Drukqs and the reasons behind that, he thinks “having music for free is a good thing, because I don’t think music should be a commodity. I’ve changed my opinion to and fro over the years, but I really do think there shouldn’t be any copyright on art.

Art — what better reason do I need to take an afternoon off work on the 30th to attend the Big Day Out.

I read elsewhere last week that sales of songs online recently exceeded sales of CD singles for the same period. If the CD single falls by the wayside as a means to buy a song will the album become the new box set?

Lastly to reassure anyone who felt fear for the future of Apple’s new little guy, you can rest easy. Today the iPod mini topped the best seller list on the Apple Store.

Oliver Boermans is a design geek in Adelaide, South Australia: ollicle.com is a place for Ollie to rant, reflect and share. Feed

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9 January 2004
Stick up for the little guy - iPod mini
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Stereolab and To Rococo Rot