I often buy a physical copy of music.
Here are the reasons:
- It costs the same or less as a download. This is an obvious way for bands and labels to get you to buy the physical item. Six dollars max for digital download.
- The packaging is cool. Stickers, posters, cool package, download code, whatever.
- I want a physical back-up. Less important with cloud back and archiving to DVDs.
- I want to make my own superior digital files. iTunes/Amazon/etc. $9, used CD $5 with shipping.
Let’s talk about number 2. Often you hear the sheep bleating about how they love covers. Problem is most of them suck.
You get a cover that’s it. No insert, no poster, no stickers, no “love gun” and minimal information. Nothing to dig into. What am I getting besides something to take up shelf space. Hopefully the art is cool.
The art is shit. I have high expectations here. Some lazy crap, half assed inside joke makes me “feel the focking fury”. Is the cover at all related to the music? Text so tiny you need a microscope to read it. Red text on a black background. Hand writing that is so unreadable it looks like Cuneiform. Putting a link to information on a website when it should be on the cover.
Low quality. This happens more with CDs. The dreaded sleeve where the LP art is shrunk down to 5”x5”, the one panel CD cover. Thanks. Shit printing. Shit CD-R quality, I have no problem with CD-R but lets not use the 100 for a quarter kind.
No download code or MP3 download. This gets into number 4, but concerns the overall package. Come on 99% of most people are listening is on their computer, phone, tablet or iPod. You spent that much on worrying if you recording is on 180+ gram vinyl and you are giving me a MP3 or no download. Bandcamp, just do it, the downloads are in multiple formats from mp3s to lossless formats (FLAC, Apple Lossless).
This leads me to the conclusion that the bulk of artists want the highest priced item with the lowest effort, the vinyl LP and offering CDs because they “have to”.
How about taking some pride in what you are putting out there. Not treating fans like you just want to take their money, come on at least pretend you have higher motivations.