What was the last album you BOUGHT? Not on itunes that doesn't count, not a freebie copy someone gave you - I mean CD or vinyl you paid for and have sitting physically in your house. NB if you're a nerd ass DJ you may not want to join in proclaiming how you spent your rent money this week on vinyl - I'm talking to the people who don't have to acquire music as part of their job.
I'm going to fess up - the only place I now tend to buy music is Amazon and that's to replace much of the music I lost years back (I swear I've bought the Score and Voodoo about 10 times each - I will catch the tief sitting on a mountain of iconic 90s R&B and hip hop CDs one day...actually my first copy of the Score was a tape!) Apart from the CDs I buy direct from artists at shows if we're talking new music the latest I've bought were Bjork - Volta, 4Hero - Play With the Changes and Dizzee Rascal - Maths & English.
There was an article in the Independent on Sunday about the death of album art (click here to read) - how technology is killing it (from LP to CD to itunes to free download) yada yada yada. Volta and Play With the Changes are both exceptionally beautiful fold out CDs with cardboard covers, booklet inserts, and amazing artwork which is why I bought them without hearing a lick. If you've never seen it Bjork has created a website for Volta (and all of her other albums which link back to her main site) and not only has she produced an incredible album, a stunning album sleeve - the costumes for which she had made by designer Bernard Willhelm and knitwear by the Icelandic Love Corporation (see this fabulous page about it specially built in to her website), she has also produced a beautiful website just for the album with additional video art clips called vlips. Check out this article about it and a 'making of' video on Sleevage.com. She's probably not short of a bob or two but still - the reason she's not is that she's always been ludicrously creative about every aspect of her work. She is a complete artist and I don't believe that the so called constraints of digital music distribution will stop her - they'll feed her. I cannot see myself ever downloading a Bjork album because I consider it a piece of accessible art - I feel privileged to hold it in my hand or place it on my shelf. I hope that she will inspire other artists to do the same and raise their game wherever possible - sales of CDs may be down but sales of art aren't.
The article goes on to mention that there will be an exhibition next month at the University of The Arts London called Spin: The Art of Cover Design...and to be honest I have the feeling I might not see Big Daddy Kane's Long Live The Kane or Ice T's Power - if not who's down to do a little covert after hours exhibition curation with me?