What is an album cover?
(Obviously I mean the actual cover, the sleeve, the thing the record goes into when not being played. Not album cover as in a tribute band playing all the same tracks on their own album. That’d be stupid.)
What in your opinion are the atomic ingredients of an album cover. I ask this because I’m trying to imagine what constitutes an album, and the cover of it, and what it will be like in the future. A lot of things might not make the cut in the future – simply sticking a JPEG or pair of them alongside the set of tracks isn’t really a qualified album cover by anyone’s assessment of satisfaction. What are the aspects that make an album cover an album cover, then?
Is the J-card, tray-card and booklet in a CD type of packaging a sufficient album cover? I think this falls short and is a significant factor in people not being quite so satisfied with CD records versus the vinyl records.
I think that mp3s and similar are even worse in that they totally dissociate the distribution format from the album cover, reducing it in many cases to a mere thumbnail linking it back to memories of a previous age.
What would satisfy a future generation that they’re truly getting an “album cover” with whatever distribution format we come up with in the future – even if it is non-physical and not on paper? What are the constituent qualifiers of such a thing?