I had a request this week for some of our music on vinyl.
We pressed only six of the Gaymonkey singles/EPs to vinyl. Each was a labour of love - carefully designed cover sleeve, selecting high quality paper stock and finish. Choosing the tracks to be included that would work best on the format.
Not many remain from the pressing - most that weren't sold initally were lost when our distributor went bankrupt. As I found the requested copies from our archive, it felt great to hold them again - memories of achievement.
It also reinforced the reasons why I have become opposed to the physical format. These relics reminded me of the past, but not so much the music contained on them.
Primarily, they are unsustainable, taking up resources and energy to produce that exceed their value. The investment in vinyl and CDs for an artist/label is massive, and a huge barrier to getting your art to the world. Digital formats have revolutionised this.
Physical formats also take control away from the artist. They dictate the use of distributors who retain stock and mark up the retail cost for the consumer. With this in mind, the format actually becomes a barrier between the creator of art and the listener.
And in the digital age, where our music collections are accessed instantly, these relics simply collect dust. Vinyl may look impressive, but CDs lack any aesthetic charm. Vinyl may be recycled and collected, but unwanted CDs tend to end up in landfill. It is sickening to think of the millions of unwanted records that have become waste.
The industry must take responsibility for this - while vinyl has found a niche, the time has come to move away from the CD format altogether. Not only for sustainability reasons, but as part of a journey to align how we see music in our lives - from commodities and things we consume to art made to enhance our lives.
If you don't want to spend the time reselling your old CDs, its good to know that they can be recycled - this is a good resource for facilities in the UK.
Image on Flickr by swanksalot