Why no liner notes?

“Learn the history of songs. That’s the problem with downloading music now. All you get is the music. You used to buy albums, and the cover would tell who the producer was, who the arranger was and who the musicians were who played on the album. You don’t get any of that now with downloading. It’s sad — there’s a lot of history that’s been lost.”

That quote is from Ricky Lawson drummer & composer who died two days before Christmas, and his comment is so very true, but one has to wonder why?

I understand why if the album is some dodgy rip, but when it comes to official digital releases how come we get less and not more? Consider a CD or vinyl release – to add liner notes adds costs, in design and especially in printing if the liner notes are totally additional to the front & rear cover… But with digital releases, there is practically no cost at all in adding extra JPGs or a PDF… So why is it so rare to get artwork & liner notes with digital releases? Are there digital releases with good liner notes?

Whats some of your favourite albums for their liner notes?

Brian Enos solo releases were always interesting and the little diagram on Ambient 4: On Land tweaked my imagination about surround sound decades before I got anywhere near film and working in 5.1


Having just moved 37 crates of vinyl from Miramar to Plimmerton, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying having my turntables hooked up again and pretty much every time I put an LP on, my eyes glaze over savouring the artwork. For album liner notes there is quite a collection here but if you want to indulge a little in LP art check out LPcoverlover or Danas Collection of Unusual LP Covers or Bizzarre Records….. But for beautiful examples of contemporary music design check out Hard Format

One Response to Why no liner notes?

  1. Kathy Muir says:

    I share your view. I launched my first album in 2012. Because it was a hard copy CD I wanted to have others enjoy the experience I felt when I would buy an album. I would put it on my turntable and devour every piece of information on the liner notes. If there were lyrics that was even better. At that time I failed to make progress on which digital distribution companies offer digital booklets. even Googling the term produced little results.
    I aim to release the second album this Summer. This time I was determined to ensure the digital version had liner notes and be as similar to the hard copy album. I’ve been researching for an age. However, I came across an article (http://aristake.com/?post=92) showing a comparison chart between the main digital aggregators. Of them all, only Tunecore and MondoTunes include Booklet. (Ditto are apparently introducing this feature also but I’ve yet to hear back).
    This might be one of the main reasons we don’t see as many Digital Booklets. Another reason is that I believe only iTunes accept booklets today – although there is talk that Rhapsody may start to get on board. Finally, there is constant conjecture about the demise of albums and the increase of singles and EP’s, which would reduce the market for a Digital Booklet.

    Going forward I’d love the see the following happen: 1. all the main music aggregators and digital distribution companies would accept Digital Booklets 2. Digital Booklets could be downloaded without mandatorily buying the entire album 3. PDF Booklets could be available for EPs. After all, there is there is still a story to tell.

    We spend a great deal of time trying to involve fans on social media sites, trying to interact with them, yet when the final experience takes place, when a fan finally decides to purchase your music, we have little extra to give them.

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