Robin Armstrong on the Physical Art of Prog

Not atypically stunning artwork from Cosmograf.
Not atypically stunning artwork from Cosmograf.

Robin Armstrong (Cosmograf) has some very important things to write about the actual, tangible, physical art of prog.

A few folk have been asking about the availability of lyrics for the Cosmograf Albums. We don’t provide these in any other form other than in the CD booklets. The reason for that is that we want to protect the remaining value of the physical product in a world where it is being increasingly marginalised alongside less and less available income streams for bands. A huge amount of work goes into our booklets with superb artwork and photography, which often never gets seen by those buying from digital platforms. When you buy a CD not only do you get a great audio experience you get the great artwork and the printed lyrics too.

Amen, Robin.  Amen.

One thought on “Robin Armstrong on the Physical Art of Prog

  1. Erik Heter

    I have a somewhat different take, and asked Robin the following on Facebook (no answer as of yet, although in fairness it was just posted a few minutes before putting it in this space):

    “I understand you want to protect the remaining value of the physical product. However, if that’s the case, then why sell at all in a digital format?

    And as an alternative, why not offer the artwork as a digital booklet like some bands do? When you open up a digital booklet on a modern-day flat panel display, not only do you get the artwork and photography, but you get it in a size that usually exceeds that of the artwork of vinyl LP’s, without (thanks to high resolution graphics) sacrificing of the visual quality.”

    I understand that it’s his perogative to sell his product the way he wants. Still, if he values the physical product that much, wouldn’t it make sense to not sell his albums in digital format? Tool, for one, is a band that values the physical product, and does not sell in digital format to the best of my knowledge (certainly not on Amazon or iTunes). Other artists, such as Steven Wilson, go the other direction in offering digital booklets that look spectacular when opened up on a large flat-panel display (not to mention, that can be ported to other devices like an iPad) that can offer the visual experience to go along with the music. The fundamental difference is that the medium is electronic rather than paper.

    It seems like the current course of selling albums in a digital format with no accompanying artwork/lyrics in any form satisfies nobody. The artist is not satisfied because people are not buying and experiencing the physical product, while the consumer of digital is not getting artwork in any format.

    So, the question is begged: why bother selling albums at all, sans artwork, in a digital format?

    I ask with all due respect (which is immense for both you, Brad, and Robin), btw 🙂



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