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Album Artwork Synopsis

Essay by   •  December 9, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  737 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,539 Views

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The aim of this dissertation is to question whether album/music artwork in its physical form, is still relevant and aesthetically appreciated in an increasingly digitally dominated world. The album cover, which was once a central part of any band's or musician's individuality, has been deeply declining and dying a slow death in recent years. On the whole, music lovers have tolerated the reduction of album art from extensive vinyl records to smaller sized plastic jewel cases. However with the music listening experience moving almost absolutely online, album art has gone through another compression and into the 21st century album art has been scaled down to primarily thumbnail images.

Even though the worlds of visual and musical art have always been associated and closely related, it is interesting to recognise that during the second part of the 20th century it has been the music industry, which has created and fashioned some of the most recognisable and influential pieces of modern art. In this modern day contemporary society, where prevalent music is considerably more available and accessible than classical forms of art work, it is the cover art of albums past and present that echoes in people's conscious. Cover art has advanced into considerably more than a depiction of the artist or band on a highlighted background; it has become a way of conveying the principles, the views and beliefs of the artists themselves. It can be a way of expressing a conception, of advancing the musician's aesthetic style or feel, and potentially remarking on the culture of the time.

However, with the emergence of the digital age many consumers have begun to choose obtaining their music online, and listening to it in digital format, instead of on a physical record. So what upshot will this cause for album art? In brief, potentially a great deal. When an album cover is only ever observed on an iPod or mobile phone screen, it loses something--not least the perceptible involvement of listening to a record. Details and features are also lost on a tiny screen, with the full effect of the artists cover only being fully appreciated on a twelve inch vinyl cover, or at least a CD cover. By losing these details, the album artwork is losing something else--the

meanings, concepts, and ideas so carefully woven into it by the artist.

Times have changed. Vinyl records are now little more than novelty pieces, a sign of

how alternative and hip an individual is. Cassettes have completely faded into the

history books, and even jewel-case CDs appear to be on their way out. The new

medium for listening to music is the iPod--it is compact, it has good sound quality,

and it looks much cooler



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