One Release, 12 Formats: Have the Format Wars Began?

F O R M A T S release formats
Music producer, artist and creative director, Trevor Jackson, has announced that his next album, titled F O R M A T, will be released on 12 different formats; 12 inch, 10 inch and 7 inch vinyl, CD, mini CD, Cassette, USB, VHS, mini disk, DAT, 8-track and reel-to-reel.

Due for release on the 25th February 2015, each format will contain a separate track. It will be followed up with the collection being available on vinyl and digital soon after the initial release.

Jackson is quoted as saying in The Vinyl Factory that “Every copy of a physical recording is different, a real object that has its own little story – a one of a kind, personalised by the effort you put in to purchase it, each time you touch it, and the unique ritual that goes along with playing it.”

Clearly Jackson is attempting to connect with the physical aspect of music but interestingly makes little mention of the packaging; an element that vinyl lovers often tout as being one of its pros. Instead, the ritual of listening music seems to be on Jackson’s mind. In a world where listening to an endless catalogue of music is as simple as pushing a button a smart phone, ritual is something that has all but disappeared.

But, as is pointed out by Tonedeaf, listeners being able to experience this album in its intended ways seems an unlikely, with very few VHS, 8-track and reel-to-reel players remaining in existence, particularly in the homes of consumers.

But will this see more music being released on more formats. Whilst the return of vinyl is still discussed in the mainstream press, the hip-hop community is beginning to re-embrace the cassette – a format prevalent in hip-hops early days due to its portability, durability, and most importantly, the ease at which mixes could recorded.

As an artistic statement Jackson has made a pertinent point – each format has its place in music, either through history, ritual, convenience, or quality. And whilst it’s difficult to see the mainstream world going to this extreme, it potentially opens the gates for artists to further consider the format they want their music released on, and consequently listened to on.

What format would like to see the return of?

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