Efforts to prolong the life of physical formats tend to focus on existing CD packages. HarperCollins is taking a different path by releasing albums as books.

Kristin Hersh talks about “Crooked,” her new book/album being released by HarperCollins. “The need for a tangible object with intrinsic value,” she told the blog Serge the Concierge. “I disagree with the recording industry which claims that music has been devalued by the Internet, but I admit that CDs have been devalued by an industry that put so much crap on them. I wanted to push the idea that music is measured in impact rather than plastic while still giving people something beautiful to hold in their hands.”

The book is being released by The Friday Project, a HarperCollins imprint that takes material from the Web and develops it into books.

A book certainly has a better tactile experience than a digipak or CD jewel case. And selling albums through book publishers lacks some problems of selling a book through a record label (chiefly issues related to warehousing and distributing an irregularly shaped object like a book). So the question becomes one of merchandising and perception: Will customers buy an album in the book section?

Each copy of “Crooked” comes with a download code that will get the buyer the full album download, recording stems for remixing, track-by-track audio commentary and a fan forum. The book contains color artwork and an essay about each song on the album.


Hersh will be speaking at Billboard’s Mobile Entertainment Live: The Music App Summit, Oct. 5 in San Francisco. She will be participating on the New Music Industry panel along with Superfly Presents founder Rick Farman, Warner Brothers Records senior VP of digital music Jack Isquith, and Zeitgeist Artist Management owner Jordan Kurland. For more information and to register, please click here.

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