The Complicator Vol. 33 – The So-Called Rich Experience

Have you heard that sales of vinyl records are way up these days, and that last week Elvis Costello announced plans to release his upcoming record on vinyl only, with a coupon for a free download of the release with purchase?

No this isn’t going to be another post about how deeelicious vinyl is. But these trends seem to be related to something I’ve been hearing and thinking a lot about lately, which is the effort to reinstate a “rich experience” for music listeners.

In terms of vinyl’s resurgence, people say that vinyl record has gravitas and its own odd beauty, and it requires an attentiveness that confers a specialness to the music and to the act of listening; and beyond vinyl’s popularity, many artists and labels are seeking ways to offer real rich experiences to their fans.

They do this in many ways, like sharing more video from tours and backstage or by asking fans to help them create artwork for album covers or videos. What these things seem to have in common is that they are attempts to establish deeper connections to the band or artist’s community.

Given all that, I’m wondering some things: does a rich experience matter to you, either in terms of enjoying vinyl or CD album art or videos, or in terms of finding a way to interact with a band you like in some new way? Do you seek out or remember those kinds of experiences? Have any unusual opportunities to meet or interact with your favorite artists or music really added to your experience of the music, or otherwise been cool?

And I’m especially curious to know the following: if you could ask your favorite artists or bands for your ideal rich experience of their music, what would it be?

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