Rain Poems CD Update

Turn off the alarm on March 1st, the CD won’t be going on sale on that day. :-)

Here is what’s been happening. Found the Verbatim CD upon my return last night. Burned a copy this morning. It played in two out of three of my players. I know that this third player is thirty years old and has always been finicky, but still. I will go over to every friend and acquaintance and will ask them to put the CD into their player to test it… If it plays in everything, great. If not, I will have to rethink. Not many people still have CD players, I have noticed. 

I remember always writing with a sharpie directly on a CD-R in the studio but those CDs were used to check the recording or a mix and were not meant to last. The ink probably leaches into the plastic over time. So I’ll probably have to buy blank CD labels that I can attach to the top of each CD for me to write on. I know, I know, I could have these CD made for much less money than what this is going to cost, and having them made will be a last resort, but I would prefer to have the CD look homemade, with a handwritten label. 

I’ll keep you posted. 

I have been giving a lot of thought to containers, especially as they pertain to music. There is the LP and the cardboard cover. Substantial, legible, large images. Then there are the music cassette and the compact disc, both invented by Philips and Sony. Not much visually, rather small, but nice containers. Part of the joy of these objects lies in opening and closing the container. This action turns listening into a ritual. A ritual must have a beginning and an end. An opening and then the closure. That’s very different from playing something from a streaming service. 

What could a digital music container look like? It could be a virtual container or an actual container… perhaps something that has a flash drive attached. Whether the container is real or virtual, it would need a way to open and close it. I am going to work on a flash drive (with regular USB plus USB-C connectors) that comes in a book. Perhaps the drive could be skinny and made to look like a bookmark. Or maybe the drive could be connected to a large paper clip that allows it to be attached to a page of the book. Or there can be a number of pages in the back of the book that have the paper cut away to allow the drive to rest in the book. Maybe I should design the book pages to leave a hole in the center for the drive. Lots to play with, for sure.

What would a virtual container look like? It should open and close. It should contain a virtual booklet. It should be able to play all of the music contained in the proper sequence…

Rain Poems CD

Picked up a proof at the printer. It works. Very minimal CD packaging. Might be better if I attached the foam button and CD to a piece of cardboard instead of the insert. It is very much a journey and this is just the beginning of it. Reimagining music packaging for the new era. CD and insert will be signed and numbered. I’ll probably only make an edition of 100. 

Dreaming of Becoming Zhuangzi

The title caught my eye. Zhuangzi means Master Zhuang. The Butterfly Dream. As in this song:

Once upon a time, I dreamt I was a butterfly, fluttering hither and thither, to all intents and purposes a butterfly…Now I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am now a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.

— Zhuangzi

This is the painting by Xiyao Wang called The Butterfly Dreaming of Becoming Zhuangzi No.1 – 2023:

About the artist:
Why Xiyao Wang’s Relationship With the Canvas Is Physical, Personal, And Even Transcendental

Gallery Info

Rain Poems

Burned a CD of the album and am listening on an old and familiar system to check the relative volume of the tracks. Plus it’s a habit that is decades old. An album is done (or kinda done) when I have a CD of it. I remember listening to albums on DAT (digital audio tape), a prehistoric recording format, at home. In my car I would listen to Mini-Discs (a rather brilliant idea that was terribly executed by Sony) until we got a CD burner in my studio in the late 90’s.

The other day I thought it would be cool to have a 12×12 inch cardboard, which is the size of vinyl LPs, with the cover image on the front. On the back there would be credits and titles and a little foam button that holds a CD. Mailing this might be a pain but there should be LP mailers available that it could be shipped in.

Spotify

Saw this on Ted Gioia’s latest newsletter. The lines are very very clear now.

Please read the comments 👇🏻. Steve makes a very good case.

Product Placement

There was a time when record companies paid music stores to have a CD in a listening station, or just to get the CD presented at the end of a row of album bins (end-capping). Or paid to get a song or an album played on an airline. At least the music had a chance to get listened to…

Now companies compete to appear on playlists of streaming companies, because that’s how you can rack up streams. I wonder how many promo people call Apple every week to get a song placed on a yoga playlist for the fitness app. Now, I assume, one has to be happy when the music is played in the background, barely audible. Do companies pay to get onto Spotify playlists? Is there a menu of services? 

I don’t know and am not sure I want to know. I remember how shocked I was–this was in the early 90s–that the CDs in a listening station weren’t there on merit, that a record company paid something in the neighborhood of $700/week for a CD to be in that station.