Friday, December 4, 2009

10 reasons to get the CD

Call me crazy, but I'm betting a big percentage of people who read my ramblings here are bleeding-edge technophiles. After all, many of you are my compatriots in the online world of Second Life, and spend a good chunk of your time immersed in a virtual environment. Other readers are big music aficionados, and have become accustomed to purchasing music via digital download. Well, as you all should know by now, the Zak Claxton album will soon be available from all your favorite online music stores (iTunes, Amazon MP3, eMusic, Napster, and Rhapsody). But it's already available on Compact Disc, and perhaps you haven't given much thought as to why you'd get one over the other.

Never fear, loyal reader, because I have already thought this through for you! Just one of the many helpful services you get from being associated with me. Anywhoo, here are ten reasons why getting the ZC album on CD might be the best bet.

1. Hello? Tangible storage format?
I love digital downloads as much as the next person. But I do cringe to think of the inevitable time when I will have an unexpected HD crash, and just perhaps all of my stuff isn't as backed up as I'd like it to be. Looking in my iTunes list just now, I could lose 941 songs in the blink of an eye. The thought makes me sad. But if I did have all that stuff on CD, no worries! I'd have all eleven professionally-recorded and mastered Zak Claxton songs in a handy storage format to place back on my computer as needed.

2. Take me on the road with you!
Some of us have MP3 players and/or audio inputs in their car stereos that allow you to easily connect your iPod or other portable player to your car's stereo. And then there's the rest of us, who aren't in a position to buy new cars or new sound systems for our cars every couple of years (yes, I'm jealous of those that are, dammit). But here at the end of 2009, most people do have a CD player in their vehicle, and what could be better than getting on the freeway, punching the gas pedal, and cranking up some "Come Around", "Fade Away", or "This Afternoon"? Nothing, I tell you!

3. The 6-Panel Digipak.
What the hell is a Digipak? I shall tell you. You probably know what a "jewel case" is. It's what you probably consider as standard in CD cases... a piece of see-through plastic on a little hinge, attached to a tray that holds the disc. As we've all experienced, the jewel case almost always gets cracked, or the hinges snap, or even in the best case, it gets scratched up and nasty looking as time takes its toll. But the Digipak is a way cooler type of CD package, made of card-stock paper with only a small plastic component to hold and protect the disc. It's more environmentally friendly than the old jewel case, holds up better over time, and still fits easily into your CD rack. Plus, since we went with the 6-panel type of Digipak, there's plenty of room for...

4. Artwork!
Here's something you don't get with a digital download. I've written about my lament over the loss of cool album art, and my disc has some neat stuff to stare at while you relax and listen to "The Sands of Redondo"" or "Waiting for This"". You get to read the album credits, and see a neat photo of me and my goofy studio band. That should be reason enough, as far as I'm concerned, to get the disc.

5. It's a limited edition (whether I like it or not).
Most CDs you buy from the big, well-known artists, are produced in tens of thousands. Why? Because they sell a lot of them via their big music industry marketing machine. But as a little independent artist, I only sell one CD at a time, to one person at a time. Now, I won't lie to you; if Best Buy calls me up and orders 10,000 of these for their stores, I probably won't turn them down. However, the initial small run of CDs are indeed a limited edition, and when they're gone, they are gone. There's another aspect of the CD that could make it even more of a keepsake for you...

6. Personally autographed upon request.
I can't put my signature on an MP3 file. I've tried, but it just looked like more metadata. With this lovely CD packaging, I am happy to add my autograph if you'd like. When you buy the CD, just send an email to contact (at) frothymusic (dot) com, and let me know to whom you'd like me to sign the album. I will be happy to do so. IMPORTANT NOTE: To sign the CD, I'll need to remove the protective shrinkwrap, so it will be naked when you receive it. Just FYI.

7. Makes a great gift.
Ever give someone a digital download for their birthday or a holiday? Sure, it's nice. The thought is what counts, yada yada. But really, wouldn't you rather hand them something that they can actually reach out and touch? If you have someone in your life who likes my music, here's something you can wrap up and put a bow on and attach a card to and make them happy. Don't you want them to be happy?

8. Impress your friends with your "indieness".
Are you a hipster? Don't answer, because no true hipster would admit to being a hipster, or even knowing what a hipster is. But if you're the kind of person that wears an ironic mustache, drinks PBR, and buys overpriced vintage t-shirts with 1970s product logos, there's no way in hell you'd have a CD from any recognizable artist anywhere near you. Admit it: you yearn for the moments when someone picks up a disc in your car and says, "I've never heard of this guy." Well my fashion-bucking friend, my CD is for you. Not only am I nearly unheard of in every major territory around the world, but by having the CD, you have the opportunity to show everyone just how unique and interesting you really are... but they'll never notice if you have me as a file in your computer.

9. You like me. Or not.
I'm a likable person. I really am. I could prove this to you in any number of ways. If you were here right now, I'd offer you a cup of coffee and provide hours of stimulating conversation. We'd while the day away with interesting anecdotes. We might take a stroll on the beach, a walk through the park. If you requested a song, by God, I'd pick up my guitar and start strumming and singing just for you. That's just the type of person I am. While buying my music as a digital download is fine, there's something to be said for having this physical, tangible representation of this person for whom you're so fond. And the reverse corollary of this is also important: if you freakin' hate me, you could buy my CD and set it on fire, or fling it off a cliff like a frisbee, or crush it into 10,000 slivers of shiny multicolored plastic under your boot. Hitting "delete" on a digital file isn't nearly as satisfying.

While many of the other helpful hints in this list have been a little silly, this one, I assure you, is not. While we all love the convenience of digital music files like MP3 and AAC and so on, all of them compress the digital data to some degree to make it easy to download. While I've made sure my digital downloads are every bit as high quality as is possible through services like iTunes, they are still not as good as the quality of the completely uncompressed 16-bit 44.1kHz WAV files that are used for CD audio playback. If you really are a fan of the music, you're not going to experience it in any better quality than what the CD will offer.

So there you have it, folks: 10 reasons to get the Zak Claxton album on CD. Stay tuned for next week's list of "10 reasons to get Zak's music as digital downloads".

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