Sunday, 10 November 2013

Death of the album part 2

Last week, I blogged about the decline in album sales. This week a little more about the art form before it ups and dies!

Album Cover Art Work

There are lots of good sites for album cover artwork. This one has some interesting and quirky choices: - well worth a look!

Make your own album cover

If you are making an album cover as part of an A level task, you need some practice. One of my favourite tasks, which proves that anyone can be creative, is this one, also known as the internet CD cover meme creator, to be found in various locations on the web. Here's what you do:

1. Get a band name:
Use the title of a randomly-generated Wikipedia article. You HAVE to use the title of the page you land upon!

2. Get an album title: 
Use the last four or five words from the last quote on this page of random quotations

3. Get your image:
Use the random images  generator from Flickr's last seven days you HAVE to use the third image, whatever it is

4. Drop image and words into Photoshop:
Adjust your band name and album title by changing the font, colour and size and maybe putting a bit of layer effect on. Resize your image so that it is the right size for the front of an album. If you want, you can turn colour into black and white, but you can’t add anything else to the image!

5. Upload it to one of the random generated CD cover sites

and here are some that people made earlier...

Album Cover re-make

A second task I like is the re-make. This involves taking an existing album cover and re-making it as closely as possible with your own models- or even yourself. Will certainly involve some work in Photoshop and maybe some costumes and makeup skills. Here’s three I found, involving cats, lego and a well-known actor. A task like this means you pay a lot of attention to the way in which images are constructed and helps build your skills for your own.

Buying albums

Alan Cross' blog lists 10 possible reasons for the decline of album sales. He argues that maybe people have lost interest in the idea of buying a set of songs and that they prefer to select individual tracks from all over the place as the playlist for their lives. I’ll come back to this below, talking about mixtapes. Amongst his other suggestions, he talks about the impact of piracy and suggests that maybe with better connections these days, streaming services seem to be a better option, ‘accessing’ rather than ‘possessing’ new releases.

Back in the day… the release of a new album by an artist or band that you liked was often a big deal. I can remember going to buy some albums on the day they came out, just like people do today with video games. Just as now, you could copy albums off your mates, in those days onto cassette, but it was never the same as actually having the 12 inch LP. I tended to tape stuff that I would never have bought, and then tape stuff that I had bought so that I could still play it on other devices- this was the early days of the Walkman. Just like today, in fact, when I have MP3s of lots of odd individual tracks, but most of my albums I have as physical CDs and then ripped versions on my laptop, ipad and phone.

The beauty of the album is that it is a ‘collection’. Programmes like ‘classic albums’ show the ‘making of’ or the way in which such collections are put together, but I think you can tell when a lot has gone into this process as whatever the rest of an artist’s work is like, a good album will have a particular ‘feel’ or sound, marking it out as a distinct set of work. If thought has gone into this, the cover will do the same so that the two things- the sound and the visuals will forever evoke one another.

the art of the mixtape

Ever made a mixtape? Whether it is physically on a tape or a CD or just a digital mix uploaded to facebook or soundcloud or wherever, the mixtape is the ultimate album, made not by a band or an artist but by a fan or listener, ideally for someone else. This excellent article here says everythingyou need to know about how to make a good mixtape

1 comment:

  1. Hi Pete. Perhaps the death of album art isn't just round the corner?