Although this should not be rocket science, sometimes people just need a reminder and refresher course on the topic.
This statement can be said about many creative outlets when an artist is concerned, weather a visual artist or musical, physical product is the greatest form of art but it’s not for everyone. Buying original comic art that were used for the actually printed issues has always been big business for both artists and collectors alike. Fans always want something tangible which can go up in value and seen as an investment and having the 1 of 1 factor makes things even more special. Some years back during the big switch in the comic book industry, there were artist that decided to start painting their pages not on paper but on computer tablets which is great for convenience but what happens to that artists legacy years down the line when there are no physical works of theirs to hang in music or to do a retrospective because everything is digital? The same can be said about the music side of things as well, how many times has your hard drive crashed or you misplaced a file on your computer or simply titled it wrong and can no long find it. Yes, you download it again but thats such a pain and do you ever really own the product itself? Or in the case of movies, how many times have you watched something on your go to streaming service one day only to go back another and it’s gone because they’ve lost the license to stream it? I’m a firm believer in buying your favorite films especially if it’s something that you can see yourself watching years down the line and as the Nostalgia King, I’m still doing it the original way, setting the timer on the VCR and recording it or DVR’ing it then dubbing to VHS or burning to DVD.
There’s a lot that goes into doing physical product which isn’t necessarily easy or cheap to say the least. As an artist, I much prefer physical product of course. It looks better and it feels better and it’s something of value which digital can never truly have. There are many hands involved that help create the work of art beginning with the artist themselves, the graphic designer / photographer who visually brought your project to life, the workers at the pressing plant, the label who spent their hard earned dollars to bring it all together in hopes of it becoming something that will be valued for a lifetime and of course, the independent record stores. There’s a connection between tangible and nostalgia that last a life time which in turn makes us as humans happy, and creates a conversation piece unlike anything digital. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with digital, it’s convenient, cheap and can reach and endless amount of people, but there’s also no quality control involved when doing things are so easy to do. It’s a great medium to use in conjunction with a physical product to reach a wider audience if used correctly. Journalism is at an all time low, why? Because it’s cheap to hire bedroom writers to write a blog post on a news site when in the physical print word, it actually cost money and you wanted to get your bang for your buck and pay quality writers which is how you generated revenue.
The final piece of the puzzle to why physical product matters is that it helps your favorite artists continue to make their art. Consumer and fan support is always appreciated weather it be by purchasing or helping to spread the word (which promo is valuable in an era of oversaturated content on social media). It costs money to press product which is no secret so the worst thing that a consumer can do is ask for free copies which has become very easy to do since we are selling direct. You wouldn’t go into a store and ask the person behind the counter if you can have the new (insert artist name) album for free would you? Here are the times when the words “free” and “promo” should be used. When a label or artist values you as a tastemaker of sorts who has helped them in the past with getting the word out, you are a DJ with a voice that others trust who still “breaks” records or they know your taste and what you collect so they want to make sure that you have something to compliment what’s already in your collection. I’m always baffled as to why people would simply ask for something free with no type of exchange taking place or value on your part which justifies said free item. If you look at the record pool era of labels doing promo’s, only A-list DJs were on the list, everyone else spent their money from the store, the same holds in regards to anything limited edition being produced, from art, to vinyl toys to the limited edition sneaker that are produced in short run.
Support often, support always, art and culture is what helps to beautify the world and keeps us as humans in good spirits.