"What's with the trend of album covers with no text?"
Who started the current trend of having an album cover with absolutely no text on it (with exception to a parental advisory label for explicit albums)? I know that there have been albums in the past with nothing but a picture and that's it, but those were an exception, not the norm.
I was looking at the list of new releases on Google Play Music and a good number of those albums had no text at all. If it weren't for the streaming service providing info regarding the names of the albums and the artists who made them, I would've been lost.
Could you imagine going to the record store back in the day and having to physically pull out 50% of the albums, that you're thumbing through, just to look at the back of each one so that you could see who made them and what their titles are? That would've been annoying.
I have no problem with the no text concept when the artwork is strong/compelling/effective enough to carry the cover but that's not always the case. A number of those covers could use text (of course done in a stylish font/logo that works with the pic) to give them a better feel/aesthetic because, on their own, they lack strength.
2. "This Isn't A New Trend At All" In response to Reply # 0
Having album cover artwork with no text at all isn't new at all, it's been done so much over the past 40 or 50 years that now in a digital/mp3 age it's kind of normal to where some people don't even know what the album cover looks like for most albums when mp3 players first came about, then to where now cellphones sometimes display artwork for a song (sometimes it gets the artwork wrong too).
I've noticed that a lot of indie releases from the 90's have no text on the album cover but do have the name of the artist on the spine or back, sometimes they go as far as to not even have a name listed on the cd which is still done a lot to day as far as text on the actual cd (sometimes you have to read the small text that have the barcode number written to match with your cd booklet to know what cd it is).
I remember also getting a cd that had no text on the cover, spine, nor the cd, and what was weird is that it had a 3 page fold out booklet but still no writing or text what so ever, just on the back of the cd was the only writing on the entire thing and of course the small barcode number & record label info written on the edge of the disc.
Then you have albums that don't have a cover at all, DJs are use to promo white label albums but when it comes to cds not having cover at all or no booklet is kind of a new thing to me, I remember when Mos Def did it with his "True Magic" album.
3. "streaming and going digital" In response to Reply # 0
I love cover art, 80% of the reason I go to the review section on pitchfork is just to look at the album covers lol
I think every thing being digital is the reason we'll see it more often cuz like you said, in a record store the genre and little "A-Z" dividers are there but online you're using to the search function
I think since most people are already putting in the name of a specific artists it makes it easier to leave out the text when you know that search function is going to take you right to the artist
plus sometimes it does look more like art without the text or parental advisory badge there
I don't stream at all, do most apps show the actual cover of the album a song is from in the window or is it just some generic picture like the way google play just throws one on in the library?
7. "When Coporate Stores Selling CDs & Vinyl, You Kind Of Have To" In response to Reply # 6
Parental Advisory is basically still a thing cause of places like Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target (which is funny cause all three of those places will stop selling cds by the end of 2018), and of course all those music stores you see in malls which seem to be disappearing as malls start becoming less popular in the U.S..
Companies know most people don't pay attention to the Parental Advisory sticker anymore cause now kids listen to their music on their own cd players, phones, & computers where parents don't have to hear you blasting music with foul language like back in the day when playing your music loud on a boom box or stereo was the norm.
It's just that fact that, no record label wants to get sued for not having that sticker on a major release, plus most of the major releases still had editied/amended versions just for Wal-Mart to carry, but sometimes sub-lables will get away with it if the album has 5 or less curse words and sometimes only 1 or 2 "fucks"/"motherfucker" said on it.