My good friend, three time published author and poet, Billy Jones who runs www.bloggingpoet.com brought up an interesting point on the subject of art on his site. I too have pondered this myself about jacket cover art on record albums of the past.
In the past, records albums were adorned with some of the most expressive and colorful art. Being that the covers had a good deal of space to fill--many artists were asked to use this as a small canvas. Inside these covers was also a vast amount of space to fill. Jacket sleeves, which the record itself was contained in, afforded a spot for flyers and order forms for the bands T-shirts and other collectible memorabilia. Often an order form was included for you to mail in to get the hottest stuff about the bands.
The print was actually in the size that you didn't need to rent the Hubble telescope to be able to read it. Of course, there was no Hubble telescope then but that's beside the point. There was room for all the lyrics and good sized pictures of the members of the group. Not to mention the ones that included a full sized wall poster of your favorite rock god or goddess for free inside. Other pullouts were often included on the inside.
With the CD's today you just don't get all of that anymore. They have some artwork but in no way does it compare to the content of the record album days. Besides that, your favorite artist before could autograph your album cover to the envy of your friends. Today you can't do that with the plastic covers that crack and split and get destroyed. You have to be more careful with the plastic jewel cases. Plus you can't have the same effect from tacking the cover on the wall and stand back to admire it. Just try and put a thumb tack into the corner of that CD case. Why, you could even frame your album covers of the past and hang them up as fine art to gander at for years to come.
It seems to me that it would be a good selling point to make the CD's available in the old style album covers. The covers would be something to look at and draw attention to the group. The CD could be in a much thinner case--and-- if a two CD set, the two could be in the cover much thinner than the two CD thick cases they have now. Not to mention that the covers would make it easier to locate the music your looking for. Much more information was available within the album covers of the past versus the small confined space of to days CD's.
Bring back the art with the music and give the fans a little something extra inside. About the only extra thing you can squeeze into a CD case is a guitar pick. Nobody has even thought of doing that as I know of. The art on the CD's today, in many cases is good, but is so small that it goes un-noticed.