On Monday, I'll be releasing an album called CLAYE. I've been working on CLAYE for two and a half years. It will be available to buy on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital music retailers. It will also be streamable from Spotify, Rdio, Beats. There will not be a physical copy to start.
Over the past six months though, I've personally become far more interested in listening to music on vinyl LPs than anything else. Sure, I still listen to tons of music digitally, but when it comes to buying new music, I will more often than not buy the physical LP.
You would think that would be the question that I get when people notice my interest in vinyl, but sadly it's usually not. Instead, I get statements like 'If you grew up with vinyl, you wouldn't like it', or my personal favourite: 'That's stupid!'
The reason why I've been enjoying vinyls so much has nothing to do with the fact that it's an antiquated medium, or that vinyl records 'sound better' (hint: they don't), but rather the experience of using them. It's hard to argue with the fact that there is more to playing a vinyl than there is playing an album on Spotify.
There's the physical act of having to take the record out of its sleeve and drop the needle. There's also the eye-candy, like additional artwork, massive 12-inch cover artwork, hidden inserts, and simply more stuff to help you visualize what's going on in the music. There's a lot more to look at with a vinyl LP, and I really appreciate this.
Another thing is that with digital music, I think that we've been trained to be bored by music alone because of how portable it is. It's something we can walk around with at any time of the day, which means that we don't end up paying much attention to what we're listening to anymore. The medium that we use to consume it makes it convenient not to.
As somebody who works for years to create an album, it's obviously going to be refreshing to use a medium that glorifies the experience of listening to music. But I think that the advantages here extend beyond just the people who understand how much work goes into this stuff.
I think that every music-lover can benefit from a more immersive album experience, but I don't expect these people to go out and buy records and turntables instead of streaming this stuff for free on the web. I also don't expect every independent musician to have records pressed, as they're quite expensive. I don't have the money or audience to be able to print CLAYE as a vinyl LP right now, but I'd like to at some point in the future.
I thought a lot about this, and I really wanted to do something. So for CLAYE, I've created something I'm calling the WebLP.
The idea is to bring the essence of the LP experience to the age of streaming music. It has edge-to-edge artwork for every song on the album, song navigation that emphasizes the beauty of listening to an album as one, continuous piece, and sections like 'Special Thanks' and 'Liner Notes' that tend to get completely lost in a more traditional digital music experience. All while making every song easily streamable online for free.
Here's a quick look at what it's like:
The WebLP for CLAYE is an attempt to bring back some of the excitement and beauty of the traditional album experience. It's not perfect though, and it's a concept that I really look forward to expanding upon in the future. Eventually, I want to find a way to build in gapless playback, end-of-song scrolling, interactive elements, and more.
I feel like there is a lot that can be done with something like this, and there's a lot that I wish I could have done. What this is, though, is a good starting point. It's the start of an effort to bring the ceremonious experience of listening to music on vinyl to the web.
WebLP will go live this Monday with the release of CLAYE. I hope you like it!