Vinyl Packaging Revamped for 2016

While my parents don't admit to being hippies, their record collection tells another story.  My youth is peppered with memories set to music, not unlike an episode of "The Wonder Years." I remember running my fingers over vinyl packaging, picking out albums with intriguing album art (The Who's "Tommy" stands out in my mind) or Cream's "Wheel of Fire." I loved the velvet tones of vinyl, and the way the sound seems to fill a space. At some point, the needle on the turntable broke and didn't get replaced. We got a CD player, the records were boxed up and piled in a closet, and the beat went on. 

Since then, music has changed form a few more times. First from CDs to MP3 players like the iPod, and then to streaming with early adopters on Pandora, but now we've entered into an interesting era. In 2016, every sales channel music is slumping except for two: streaming (up 50%) and vinyl (up 11%). I don't think this is a coincidence. There's no ownership associated with streaming. Listeners can quickly sample songs and artists--literally millions of both--for either no fee or a nominal one. When listeners connect with an artist deeply, they want to invest in an experience. That's where vinyl trumps CDs, iTunes, any other form of listening experience. 

Naturally, I know I might be a little biased given my childhood love for vinyl. But there's a tangible experience that comes with holding vinyl packaging and dropping that needle, and I think there's a kind of craving for that kind of close-up sentimentality. Of course, there's more to it than that, and TuneCore has a few more ideas as to why vinyl and vinyl packaging is making a resurgence. 

Vinyl Packaging

Vinyl Packaging as a Form of Art

Whether your shelve it or frame it, album art has the potential to be iconic. Just look at The Beatles' "Sergeant Pepper" album cover. And in 2016, it's risen beyond just the album cover to origami and custom box level.

Vinyl is Tangible

I love Spotify, but here's the thing: you can't leave MP3s or Spotify playlists to your kids, or frame your favorites to put on the wall. You can't have your favorite artists sign the album like vinyl packaging. Digital has a lot of positives, but also a lot of tradeoffs.

Vinyl Goes Mobile

The majority of records purchased today also include a download code so users not only have their gorgeous album, but can also download the tunes to their mobile devices or computers for listening. Amazon is an early pioneer in providing the MP3s along with vinyl purchases.

Vinyl Sounds Off

Vinyl packaging is superior, there's no loss in mobility, so how can it get better for vinyl fans? It usually comes down to the strongest argument...sound quality:

Sound is a range of frequencies. When there is a complete presentation of frequencies that diminishes as the frequency increases, the sound seems to be more complete. Vinyl tends to present the widest range of frequencies due to its analog-to-analog production process. Digital music, because of its compression to keep file sizes manageable, doesn’t present as much of a continual range

When people make this argument, it's a passionate, emotional one.  And it's one echoed by an entire community of people who keep vinyl alive through patronizing smaller shops and hunting through garage sales as well as shopping online. Don McLean may have thought the music died, but it's alive and well decades later. 

Clearing the Air on Clamshell Packaging

Clamshell packaging is capable of storing an array of products from electronics to toys. Clamshells are often criticized for contributing to wrap rage; the heightened level of anger and frustration resulting in the inability to open hard to remove packaging. Although clamshells have gotten a bad rap, they are a very beneficial packaging option. They provide increased security and protection for products. They may be difficult to open, but they keep products safe and secure.

There are a couple different kinds of clamshells. The first kind is the clamshell packaging most commonly found in retail. These clamshells are thermoformed. This is a manufacturing process where a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable forming temperature, then formed to a specific shape in a mold, and trimmed to create a usable product. Clamshells are named because of the hinge it possesses. They can have one or more hinges. A clamshell with a single hinge usually includes a hanger tab, allowing it to hang from store pegs. Clamshells with multi hinges allow the packaging to have a flat base so the product can stand upright. Although these are the ones that gives us the wrap rage, they are a wonderful way to showcase products. The clear plastic allows great visibility to consumers. They are also very versatile, in that they can be designed in many ways that cater to specific products.

The next type of clamshell packaging is clamshell CD/DVD cases. These are a great alternative to traditional jewel cases and paper sleeves. These cases provide excellent security with is strong center hub to keep discs in place. Clamshell CD/DVD cases are a fantastic way to save on storage space. Their slim design allows for more to be stored at once than standard disc packaging.

Ever wonder how clamshell packaging came to be?
Look familiar?

Presenting……The DigiPak

I’m sure we have all heard of the famous jewel case, but have you ever heard of a digipak? A digipak is an innovative and patented style of CD or DVD packaging that is similar to the standard jewel case, but typically consists of a gatefold paperboard or card stock outer binding instead of plastic. It also features one or more plastic trays that are attached to the inside. The main benefit of a digipak is that it is shatter proof and allows for greater graphic display. Digipak CD packaging can also be configured to fit specific needs. It can be designed to hold anything from discs to literature and artwork. The way the digipak folds can also be specifically designed as well. From a simple book-like fold to multiple folds, the possibilities using digipak packaging are endless.

Digipaks also allow creative flexibility. Traditional jewel cases only allow artwork to be inserted in the back and front covers, with a place to insert a small booklet on the inside. Digipaks have the benefit of being able to emboss letters and images, which is a technique that creates an impression on materials, giving packaging a unique look and texture.  Bright colors and elaborate graphics are able to be used as well as incorporating literature and booklets if needed. The trays that are used in digipaks are versatile in that they can be configured in multiple ways. They can come in different colors and are impact resistant and eliminate the risk of breakage.

Digipak packaging also enhances promotions and marketing. They are an inventive and creative way to promote a product, service, or company. Digipaks can be easily distributed and are an attractive way to get a message out to attract customers and clients. They also provide a more eco-friendly option than traditional jewel cases because less plastic is used. Digipaks offer many benefits for disc packaging and are used by many companies.