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iPod say: Whatever happened to vinyl art?

Whatever happened to the wonderful artwork of the old 12" vinyl record sleeves? You might think that it is gone for good, but strangely enough, it might just be about to make a reappearance...

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Although vinyl has found an extended lease on life in certain musical genres, for the great mass of the music buying public there is only one format - CD. Compared to vinyl, CD has virtually no noise, no distortion and has a duration up to 74 minutes or more.

In fact, the public realized almost instantly when CD first came out that it was superior in every way. Except one...

The small, convenient size of the CD means that the cover art pales in comparison to 12" x 12" vinyl sleeves.

If you don't remember, vinyl cover art was wonderful, and often a major selling point. But on CD, it's just a bit of illustration on the front and that's all there is to it.

So cover art has gone, never to return? Right?

Well yes - CDs will never be packaged as gloriously as vinyl. And since any future format will certainly never have the same large surface area as vinyl, cover art is as dead as a dodo bird.

But then again no (in the words of that famous Elton John song)... Cover art is alive and kicking in the form of the...

iPod!

The iPod?? What, you ask, has the iPod got to do with cover art?

The answer is in the new special edition U2 iPod. It comes in U2 colors, has replica band signatures on the back, and comes with a special offer to pack it with virtually every U2 track ever recorded, including some that have not been publicly heard before.

As a style icon, to proclaim your band-loyalty to U2 in this way is about as good as it gets And this release could be the first of many.

I predict that within a few months we will see all kinds of special edition iPods, and other media players. And the comparatively simple U2 design will evolve into a 'must have' item that will simply walk off the shelves.

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By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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