Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I miss liner notes

When the heck are we gonna get all of the important info that comes on a hard copy of a music purchase, with an mp3? I mean for cryin' out loud! Am I the only one that wants to know who produced an album? Who played drums? Where was it recorded? Who mastered it? What the heck did that singer say?? Hes gonna bury a chocolate bar? Gonna buy a 'lectric guitar?
We'll never know...
These are the burning questions that keep me up at night after I have visited amazon or itunes for a quick fix.
Sure, some of this info can be found on the net. IF you can avoid the bot sites that come up in google that say RADIO HEAD LYRICS and then proceed to try and take over your computer after you click the link. Even still, it can be difficult to find credits. And dagnabbit, I shouldn't have to go looking. I should get it when I buy the music-Automatically.

There are a couple of places like NoneSuch Records that sell you the CD, and an instant (high quality!) download for 1 price. This rocks IMO. Also, they tend to list many the players and details right there on the front info page.
Amazon and itunes; listen up- Everyone I know that buys music on a regular basis says the same thing, they like CDs but buy mp3s for the quick fix factor. (me too) Why not combine these experiences with either a combo deal or higher quality mp3s (don't even get me started on 128 kbps, it sounds terrible) and more Lyrics, liner notes, artwork etc...
More information is good. Knowledge is power!
[A quick follow up on 10/24/2009]

I have since run across and fairly elegant solution to this issue. Any of you that own Death Cab For Cutie's "Canyon Bridge" may have noticed that track 13 is indeed a complete rundown of the credits as read by professional Voice Over artist Mike West. I suspect that this great idea came from producer Chris Walla.
Also, as you probably know, there are several lyric sites out there. Even still, until we come up with a standard and better multimedia solution, I encourage artists to put their lyrics on their website. Many of those lyric sites are "best guesses" from the site owner and contain inaccuracies...


jdomini00 said...

i never even thought about that until you brought it to my attention. I guess I'm just so used to getting mp3s now that I dont even miss liner notes anymore. I think it's because the convenience outweighs them.

Jonathan said...

I know what you mean. I guess one point is that no one even thinks about "who the producer is" or who played that cool lead guitar part" because the notes aren't there. It may seem a bit nostalgic but it used to be that you would buy a new release, sit down with headphones and check out the artwork, read the notes, lyrics etc. I think that this is a cool part of listening to music. You are totally immersed in the experience. And as a fan/musician it's valuable because you start to notice that you like certain producers, bass players...

It's kind of a reflection of the transient "throw away" attitude towards music today. I mean, it's all free now, right? So, if it has no value then folks have no emotional investment in what they are listening to. Just click delete and move on.
The industry will catch on to this eventually (they are already starting to) and will come up with new (hopefully better) solutions. They have to. They will all have to start selling insurance if they don't.

BTW, I bought a recent release by Alice in Chains via iTunes and they created a really cool interface with the entire liner notes, credits and lyrics. The best digital booklet I have seen so far.