A novel concept and beautiful exterior make Martin Skelly’s Playlist Player vinyl emulation system a certified object of desire. The device — which plays back digital files in an apparently Serrato-like manner — attempts to simulate the classic ritual of the vinyl LP.
“There are two parts to the design: the player, and the record box containing five different coloured covers. Once the playlists are chosen and synced to the player with a memory stick, the user customises the outside of the sleeve with artwork of their choice. It could be photos of a memorable night or person or typed and hand drawn tracklists. Once the record is placed on the player, the music begins and the outer ring of lights illuminates. As the playlists plays rings of light visible through the translucent record move towards the centre of the disc, like a needle tracking on a record. These lights represent time and not the number of tracks, meaning your music must be enjoyed from start to finish with no distractions like the temptation to skip tracks, fast forward or rewind.”
Seeing people designing experiences like this is always nice, but it does illuminate the rather unsettling fact that the album format is dying. People are consuming media in ever smaller chunks and the LP experience is no longer the norm. I think this is a huge loss and an unfortunate consequence of the on-demand nature of the internet.
Although I grew up listening to 8-track, vinyl, cassette tapes, and then CDs — all of which tended to be enjoyed in album format more often than not — I must admit that I jump around a lot when consuming MP3s. I have recently begun rebuilding my music collection in lossless FLAC though and this has encouraged me to listen to more music as whole albums. If Skelly’s Playlist Player supports FLAC or WAV it might make the experience that much more enjoyable.