Category Archives: The Art of Packaging
Unless you’ve been living in a cave (or the midwest) you’ll know that vinyl records are back, and back big. Right now vinyl is outselling all formats of recorded music. I guess people were just bored w/ stealing badly compressed music off the internet – hopefully so. In order to give the buyer a completely different experience record labels have upped their game by producing unusual and uniques pieces. It’s usually the smaller record companies like Jack White’s Third Man Records that will do the real cool stuff – You may find a pink vinyl copy of Madonnas new LP from a major label but you’re never gonna’ find one filled with her hair and urine (honest to god – see below). Most of the records don’t play that great but what the hell – they’re just so damn cool.
In the cold war era Soviet Union, bootleggers built homemade recording machines and ingeniously copied and pressed forbidden records by the state on discarded X-Rays which they clandestinely obtained from hospitals. They would etch a copy of a record into the X-Ray, cut it into a circle with scissors, and use a cigarette to burn a hole in the middle, allowing the record to be played on any record player. http://coloredvinylrecords.com/blog/25-unusual-and-creative-records/
Hellmouth burned an old German Bible from the late 1800s and pressed the ash into the ‘Bible Ash’ variant of their Gravestone Skylines album, which was limited to a total of 33 copies.
Shout Out Louds, a band from Sweden managed to create a playable ice disk for their single ‘Blue Ice’ in collaboration with TBWA Stockholm. The track can be recreated on a record player but only a few people got the chance to use it. They sent a kit to ten select people along with a set of instructions on how to make the album, along with a mold and a bottle of water. http://coloredvinylrecords.com/blog/25-unusual-and-creative-records/
Zoetrope vinyl releases have printed or etched images on them that produce continuous moving pictures when spun on a record player.
Glassjaw‘s Coloring Book has 120 unique color combinations using yellow, orange, green, red, blue and white. The vinyl separates into a 7″, 10″ ring and 12″ ring and comes framed with a hand-numbered sticker on the back of the frame.
French DJ and producer Breakbot had a limited pressing of 120 copies of his single cast in edible chocolate and was intended to be played only once and then eaten.
The world’s first 3 RPM record, given away for free at Third Man Records‘s Three Year Anniversary Party. It’s cut at the slowest speed yet it plays super fast (and needs to be spun by hand as no turntable can play it). It’s a compilation of 7 inch records but packaged like a 12 inch, containing every Blue Series single released. http://coloredvinylrecords.com/blog/25-unusual-and-creative-records/
Emperor Yes’s LP – An Island Called Earth had a limited pressing of 100 records, containing crushed meteorite dust.
Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy had her blood mixed w/ clear vinyl for a limited release. The Flaming Lips went went step further for their LP Heady Fwends having the blood of Kesha, Nick Cave and Yoko Ono (among others) pressed into their LP.
Eohippus went even further with their single “Getting Your Hair Wet with Pee” single. That’s right yellow vinyl embedded w/ urine soaked hair.
Barren Harvest‘s Subtle Cruelties clear vinyl edition was pressed with real autumn leaves inside and was limited to 100 copies.
British company And Vinyly offers a unique service to their customers. They press your or your loved one’s ashes into a 12″ clear vinyl, containing music or any audio of your choice. All you have to do is to deliver the ashes to a pressing plant in London and pay the £3,000 for the ‘Basic Package’, which includes 30 copies of the record.
Both LPs for The Great Gatsby soundtrack are set are blindingly reflective metallized discs. Disc one is platinum and disc two is gold. These are the first-ever commercially available records made using these precious metals via this process. Not stopping there, the records come housed in an entirely unique laser-cut wooden LP jacket riveted to aluminum spines. If you can find one it’ll set you back about $400.
Normally, laser etching is only done on a non-playable side of a vinyl record. However, with some tweaking, laser etching can be done also on the groove side of the record without affecting the playing grooves. If hit by a light, the etching reflects in polychromatic colors.
Thanks to http://coloredvinylrecords.com
These aren’t all from 2013 but a good many are. It’s nice to see some actual thought going into some of packaging. However, this did seem to be the year where they took the main characters head and simply filled it w/ DVDs, but that’s OK (the Jackass package is pretty clever). Favorites? The Dexter box is very cool as is the Breaking Bad collection. The older films like the 10 Commandments and the Sound of Music seem pretty uninspired but a life sized bust of Moses filled w/ media might not be the way to go with these films.
It’s that time of year again. Here are a few grand ideas for stuffing stuffers. Perhaps Santa will bring you the $300. Clash retrospective in a cardboard boom box, the 15 CD Blind Guardian (?) set or the entire work of John (Cougar) Mellencamp in one nicely designed box. 2013’s designs seem a little less elaborate than the last few years, no metal traveling case with 6 anatomically sized dildos of each of the members (ha) of Rammstein or the $500 box of U2’s single LP – Actung Baby! There is some nice stuff though so save your pennies and happy holidays.
How could anyone resist sporting a cheap nylon apron and thin vinyl mask to go as one of your all-time favorite characters, i.e. Jaws, the motorcycle guy in the Village People, Rubiks Cube, or perhaps one of the Beatles or Mr T or even Alf. All great costumes, indeed. There were many companies that put out these kinds of costumes but Ben Cooper and Collegeville were the Kings. Hard to see out of (perfect for dark busy trafficked streets) either too tight or too loose (one size does not fit all) and completely cheap and and weird, these were the easy way out for 1950’s and 60’s kids and moms. For $2.00 you could be almost anybody or anything – badly.
Studebaker – Founded in 1852 under the name of the Studebaker Brothers Manufacturing Company, the company was originally a producer of wagons for farmers, miners, and the military.
Studebaker entered the automotive business in 1902 with electric vehicles and in 1904 with gasoline vehicles, all sold under the name “Studebaker Automobile Company”. Over the next 50 years, the company established an enviable reputation for quality, reliability and unique design. The South Bend plant ceased production on December 20, 1963, and the last Studebaker automobile rolled off the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, assembly line on March 16, 1966.
Below are advertisements and production photos for many of the Studebaker models, starting in 1950 and ending with the 1963, Raymond Loewy designed Avanti. Beautiful cars, beautiful ads.
Now that anyone can basically steal any bit of music they want, how does the record industry make up for falling sales. Among other things, the answer is to make outlandish, super deluxe versions. You could probably find all this music online but you wouldn’t get the extras, like books, t-shirts, a working amp or turntable. Some of these are beautifully designed, some are just plain crazy and all are expensive.
And the biggest money waster is….
U2 – Achtung Baby. 6 CDs of outtakes and original LP, 4 DVDs, badges, vinyl version of LP, Bono’s sunglasses, a couple of singles, prints and posters. Remember this is for 1 LP that really isn’t that great. $500
And the most expensive