Okay, so let’s get it out of the way before we start. Who even buys physical music anymore, right? Hahaha Spotify is all I need to enjoy my music nowadays! Got that out of your system? Great. One thing many people overlook these days, especially because music consumption is primarily digital now is the way in which albums are packaged. When done right, album packaging can be an art. When done wrong it can be downright dreadful.
Not too long ago I got my hands on a physical copy of Beach House’s Bloom. I like Beach House so the music to me is just fine and all. But the CD and what it came in honestly blew me away. Looking at the album cover without having it in your hands makes it seem boring. Unlike normal CDs which come in those plastic box thingies, Bloom is presented to the potential listener in the form of a sort of card stock cover. All the white spots on the cover are embossed. You can feel each individual spot as a sort of raised bump. It gives the listener (or person just handling the thing) a way to experience the album besides just listening to it (who wants to listen to an album anyway, am I right or am I right?). The CD itself is packaged like a vinyl record which means it comes in a little paper cover that slides into an opening in the album cover. Also, the cover opens up to reveal pages with images of the lyrics written out by hand on some and photography on the others. It’s almost like a little book.
Needless to say, Beach House’s Bloom is definitely an example of good album packaging. There aren’t any flimsy little plastic CD cases. No half done looking liner notes. No terrible album artwork. Holding the CD in your hands is an experience of its own. And honestly, that’s what Beach House has done right.
While physical music distribution is definitely dying, the fact of the matter is, artists are still hiring people to make their album liners and package their CDs. There’s even an award at the Grammy’s for “Best Recording Package”. While some artists, like Beach House seem to understand the importance of good presentation it’s a shame so many other artists don’t give a damn.
What I’m trying to get at is this: big name artists usually have more money than the most people can even dream of when they decide to record and produce an album. With all this moolah being funneled into something they’re putting their entire careers into, why would they do a horrible job packaging their product? Why wouldn’t they put some of that money into hiring someone to actually make their CDs look appealing? Sure physical copies of Bloom might have been more expensive to produce but if I had to decide between listening to something with great packaging, like that album, or something with the most God awful album liner I’ve seen (Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz, Chief Keef’s Back From The Dead 2 and Blood on the Dance Floor’s Evolution all come to mind) I’d go with the better packaged album every time.