It’s 2017, everybody’s streaming music so why is singer/songwriter Jeremy Heiden releasing his music on every format he can get his hands on? Isn’t it too late for that?
Sure, you can stream his music on Spotify and Tidal, but Jeremy Heiden’s “Blue Wicked” album is also available on CD, LP, cassette, MiniDisc, Digital Compact Cassette, Elcaset, vinyl picture disc and so many more.
The guy really likes physical formats. I’m with him, and looking back I’m fascinated by the number and variety of audio formats that have vanished over the years. The longevity of the LP and CD as popular formats still selling tens of millions of units each year well into the 21st streaming century is no less mindboggling.
Heiden designs the art for the packaging for each format of “Blue Wicked”; he and his producer Ralf Porankiewicz handle the transfers and mastering. “Blue Wicked” is something of a best-of Jeremy Heiden collection, some of the tunes are 20 years old. The earlier tunes were recorded on ADAT digital tape, later ones were done on Pro Tools at 48 kHz/24 bit resolution.
He likes really obscure analog formats like Elcaset, I forgot all about that one! It’s a big tape cartridge Sony thought would appeal to folks who wanted the sound quality of reel-to-reel tape, but in a smaller, more convenient shape. It didn’t work, Elcaset was a disaster. Heiden pointed out that no record companies ever released pre-recorded Elcasets, so “Blue Wicked” is the first. I’ve had hands-on experience with most of the other formats, but I never saw or heard an Elcaset. It’s super rare.
And he’s not just focusing on ancient analog formats, Heiden’s preparing surround mixes for DVD and Blu-ray. His affection for the MiniDisc recordable optical disc format runs deep, and he strives to make each format sound as good as possible. No wonder Heiden’s developed a small, but passionate following of insatiable format freaks. He takes delight in researching formats, tracking down blank media and recording machines. It’s a calling, he just has to do it.
What about 8-track stereo tape cartridges you ask? That format was hugely popular from the mid 1960s to early 1980s. Heiden’s on it, he has an 8-track “Blue Wicked” scheduled for December release, and there might even be another 8-track coming with a surround mix! So I was hardly surprised that a 7 inch analog reel-to-reel tape “Blue Wicked” is in the works!
Trying to stump Heiden I asked, “What about a 78 RPM record?” and he didn’t flinch. He’s open to any and all formats, because he just loves the idea of having his music on every conceivable format. Come to think of it, Jack White put out a ’78 a few years ago, his affection for analog audio is well known.
Heiden didn’t rule out an SACD, and he hasn’t yet received any requests for “Blue Wicked” on the Digital Audio Tape cassette format, but he’s ready to do a few if people want ’em!
Heiden has nine customers that have bought “Blue Wicked” in every format, and he might be the only artist who’s set out to do as many formats as he can. It’s feedback from customers sharing Heiden’s love of obscure formats that has fueled his ongoing search.
The only format that Heiden can’t imagine getting out any time soon is LaserDisc, but you never know. Obviously this isn’t a get rich quick scheme, he just really loves doing it.
Check out Jeremy Heiden’s Web site for more information about his music and which formats are available now.