Judging albums by their cover

Beck: The Information

Beck has always been an advocate for the use of strong, clever visual solutions for his music releases, apparently growing up, he used to pick up albums based on their cover art as well 🙂 His latest release ‘The Information’ takes it up another notch. This clever little package design contains a set of stickers that allows you to customise your own cover. Art directed by uber album design specialists Big Active, over 20 image-makers were involved in the creation of the sticker sets. It’s a fun idea to ‘value add’ the physical CD in this day and age of easily down-loadable music – the listener becomes an active participant in the album experience. So the CD package is cool, but while I was in London I managed to pick up the 7-inch vinyl single of ‘Cell Phone’s Dead’ (the revival of the vinyl single in Europe is another story) that also contains it’s own set of stickers, along with a larger cover ‘canvas’ to display them on. I imagine out there somewhere you can also purchase a 12-inch full vinyl album. So while this is all pretty clever, I imagine it’s the sort of thing that will only effectively work once, it opens up a lot of ideas and possibilities for value adding CD packages in the future though. One of the first things I thought of when I got the Beck CD was that it was a pity that the stickers, once stuck down, are so permanent, wouldn’t it be cool if they were like those old ‘colour-form’ kits from my childhood (I had GI-Joe and Evel Knievel sets!)that let you take off and re-place the stickers over and over. How about a set of rub-down ‘letraset’ images or a cover that works like a magna-doodle set? It’s highly likely that the future of physical CDs lies in different areas of thought like this. There’s a contest online for the best ‘Information’ covers put together by listeners here, oh, and the actual music on the album is pretty good too! Go out to your record shop and buy a copy.