Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Retweet: The art of packaging when the physical product goes digital, the NYT looks at the music label Putumayo

The New York Times printed (and posted) an interesting story this morning about a music label's late move to digital. The story, by Ben Sisario, involves an interview with Dan Storper, founder of Putamayo World Music, a copy that sells most of their CDs through such stores as Whole Foods and other shops where their customers are usually found.

“I’ve built a business focused on creating compelling physical packages that combine music, culture and travel, that make great gifts and that sound very good,” Storper is quoted in the story as saying. “I’m 60 years old. I still don’t own an iPod or iPad. I like reading physical books, magazines and newspapers, and buying CDs that have interesting liner notes. I’m certainly not an early adopter.”

I found this interesting because as I, myself, have moved more and more to digital only purchases of music I have also found that I have also moved in the other direction, as well. That is, I appreciate the efforts some labels put into their accompanying material.

One label, that I have written about in the past, is Jordi Savall's Alia-Vox. The label created by the Catalonian musician, conductor and ancient music master produces CD releases that combine super high fidelity recordings combined with often book-like supporting material.

As an example, one of the latest releases, Dinastia Borgia, celebrates the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Borgia, the last of the members of the "Borgia Dynasty". The 3-CD set includes a massive book that offers extensive text in six different languages.

The book accompanying a previous release, Le Royaume OubliƩ, was 564 pages with text available in seven languages.

One thing Apple has been doing that so far Amazon has not is including digital version of CD booklets with some iTunes "album" purchases. The practice is very irregular and probably is dependent on the record label's cooperation, but it does seem to be one way around the "packaging" issue that is at the heart of the NYT story today.