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Album art has fallen victim to increased technology. This has happened simply because as technology has improved, things get smaller. And because of this, the once great art that graced the covers of some of the great classic albums when they appeared on LP has been destroyed. The reason is simply that a CD case is only one-fifth the size of the cover of an LP. This has necessarily led to decrease in the complexity (and overall quality) of the cover art of albums.


Some examples:

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.
The cover of this album is incredibly complex, featuring the figures of many different people, both living and dead. In addition, there are many different objects. However, some of it is impossible to see on the CD cover (don't even start me on the cover of the tape). The CD does include a guide to all of these things, but you still can't find some without a magnifying glass.

The Beatles - Abbey Road
This is another album that simply loses its effect with the decreased size.

These are the examples that I am most familiar with, but there are countless others.


There are obviously some albums for which size doesn't matter. The Beatles (The White Album), Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon, and Pink Floyd - The Wall are some fairly obvious examples. But, by and large, the reduction in size has made classic albums look worse.


And also because of this size constraint, the art of new albums has suffered as well. We have rarely seen albums with art as great as the aforementioned albums since the advent of CDs. Pictures just have more of an effect when they are larger.

There are some albums released only on CD that stand out. A good example is Nirvana - Nevermind. And there are a couple of others. But simply not enough.


On the plus side, however, CDs have created the wonderful worlds of label art, and have greatly increased the joys of liner notes.