Physical Product

Discussion in 'Ask Steve Lawson & Michael Manring' started by kimstevens, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. kimstevens


    Nov 12, 2002
    Hi Michael and Steve,

    I'm wondering how you guys feel about CDs, specifically in relation to providing your audience with something to buy and have autographed. If and when the CD (or any other physical storage) format ceases to be relevant, do you think that it will be an issue for you? Do you view the CD as having an intrinsic worth, to either yourselves or your audience, beyond the worth (not necessarilly monetary) of the music and text information that could be otherwise downloaded?

  2. Steve Lawson

    Steve Lawson Solo Bass Exploration! Supporting Member

    Apr 21, 2000
    Birmingham, UK
    Hi Kim,

    good question - Having grown up in the age of the LP record, I still have a very strong attraction to physical product. Even though the vast majority of my listening is done via MP3s on my computer, I still buy the CD rather than the download of almost every bit of music I listen to, then copy it to my computer for listening. Downloads still don't feel like VFM, especially given that so many of the download services are encoding at 128k - that's ridiculous. ( encode at 192k, which is a fair bit better).

    I don't think the problem is so much having something to sign, as having something to take home, and something that provides a catalyst to conversation at gigs. I'm happy to chat to people after gigs whether they are buying stuff or not, but lots of people like to have the chance to come and support you in person, and that's a good thing.

    I also thing that album artwork and packaging gives you yet another chance to say something about what you do, especially as an instrumental artist where you don't have lyrics.

    I still sell a lot more CDs than I do downloads, despite my having all the albums that I sell as CDs on my site also available as downloads for less than the CDs... I think that says something about the relationship we have with CDs, as it is still.

    What I hope happens is that some kind of higher res format gets standardised, whether it's DVD-A or some kind of HD system or whatever it is. It'd be nice to go beyond 16bit 44.1k...

    But I don't really mind which version people buy, so long as they buy the music and enjoy it! :D

  3. Michael Manring

    Michael Manring TalkBass Pro Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    It really is an interesting question, Kim, thanks. I suppose this may end up being one of the instances when changes in technology drives the course of an art form. Already I think we’ve seen the album (in the sense of a collection of pieces lasting about 45 minutes to an hour) decrease in importance compared to individual pieces or songs due to the nature of downloading. But I sometimes wonder if a large section of the listening public won’t always want to have some kind of physical product as a delivery medium for music. I’ll keep making CD’s as long as it’s a viable medium, but I’ll try to adapt to however the market changes.

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