[This was my column for GlobalNews.ca. -AC]
When the skews appeared for Lorde’s Solar Power album, her first record in four years, something was missing. There was a number for a digital download, another for something called a “Music Box” (more on that in a minute), and a vinyl version. There was no mention of a compact disc edition of the album. And for good reason: There won’t be one.
Lorde (well, her label, if we’re honest) is positioning the absence of a CD for Solar Power as an eco-friendly move, a way to distribute music in a more plastic-free way. While fans pining something physical to purchase can always buy the high-margin vinyl, they’ll also be offered the Music Box edition, a cardboard box containing handwritten notes, exclusive photos, extra visual content (whatever that means), and a download code for a high-quality digital (lossless? almost certainly) version of the record.
The download in the Music Box will come with two tracks not available anywhere else along with “some special surprises.” The plan has already met with much approval from organizations that want us to reduce our dependency on plastic. And it’s meant to assuage bricks-and-mortar record stores who need something in lieu of a CD to put on the shelves.
Let’s think about this for a moment: A major-label release from a globally famous artist that will not be available on CD. Is this a sign of things to come? I’d bet on it.