Saddle Creek’s Jadon Ulrich and the Past, Present, and Future of Music Packaging

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A really stellar interview with Saddle Creek Records‘ lead designer, Jadon Ulrich, over at Wired. He’s the fella behind covers for Bright Eyes, Cursive, Rilo Kiley, etc. And while who doesn’t like an interview about the designing of records, Wired gets at the “wired” focus of the discussion, asking what it’s like to be doing a job that’s no longer confined to just the packaging of discs, but rather, in a million different formats, from little iTunes thumbnails to cell phone music players. Here’s a little:

Wired: Are album covers more important these days or less important than they used to be?

Ulrich: I think it’s some of both. Ten years ago, I might have bought a record I never heard of based on the look of the cover and packaging, I don’t think I’d ever do that now. I think consumers are more informed about the music they buy, before they buy it . They can sample tracks on myspace, get clips of songs on iTunes, listen to full albums with subscription services, not to mention peer-to-peer downloads. There’s a lot of blogs, music sites that you can gather a lot of information from as well. With this barrage of publicity and advertising, the album cover really makes the rounds, but it’s more of a stamp, a visual imprint, of the album. As far as physical albums go, I feel the idea of “packaging” has become more important than a good cover. A strong cover does still grab your eye on the shelf, in print, and online… I just do some research now before I shell out the cash.