Are You Experienced?

I visited my local Target the other night to run a few errands with my family. After walking through the store and grabbing what we needed, I stumbled into the CD section just to see what they had. Though the section isn't...  shall we say... as plentiful as it could be or used to be, for me it's still refreshing to browse through rows of music instead of buttons on iTunes. I think it makes discovering music so much more fun.

I used to buy CDs all the time from my favorite independent and major music stores, but they are becoming harder and harder to find. With the rise of iTunes, Amazon and internet radio (along with other sites in which to get music we won't name), people just aren't buying (physical) music like they used to. Myself included.

Just a few months ago, the record industry announced the lowest sales of CDs since they started recording purchasing data.... sad, sad, sad.

So there I am browsing through the rows of music, hoping to find something worthy of my purchase and a few new albums caught my eye. (Yes, I like calling CDs albums). I ended up grabbing the latest releases by The Black Crowes (a best-of acoustic double album for $9.99) and the new Filter CD ($7.99). Both were excellent prices so I couldn't refuse buying them.

To my surprise upon opening the CDs, I realized what I've missed by buying digital music lately—outstanding artwork and well designed packaging. Both of these, coincidentally, were the paper digi-pak (not the clear plastic containers) and both revealed wonderful pop-up artwork.

It made for a better user experience opening the CDs and browsing the artwork while listening to the music. It sounds odd writing this because I remember when that was the only option there was, when all music was only available as tangible products. Some bands and record labels realize the need for this experience and are trying to push the envelope by making new and interesting music and packaging. While it’s getting increasingly expensive, let's not let this impactful artform die.

There's no denying its importance as a universal language, but music has lost its value by becoming a digital commodity. Buying CDs from artists you love not only helps support them, but you get a better understanding of what the artist is trying to say. I charge you to go buy some real music and fully experience it the way the artist hoped. We owe it to them.