Badge of cool

Remember how you used to carry vinyl albums around as a badge of cool? Digital technology now seems set to take this to the wire, by ditching the album and promoting the badge.These new devices carry an album embedded on a chip inside a pin-on lapel badge. The operating buttons are housed on the back, with a pair of iPod style wires and earphones jack-plugged into it. The album art is printed on the face of the badge, and off you go.The American makers (I say makers, it’s likely to be assembled in China as much of the West is these days) of Playbutton promote it as a way of showing others what you’re listening to, and also make much of the fact that the album is presented in full as it should be – rather than user edited (though you can still skip through tracks). We’re not sure if the Playbutton will take off, though they do have a certain cute appeal, especially as the company seems to have forgotten the one thing that all album sleeves had in common. They were square.Unless of course you’re a fan of The Small Faces…

Collectors note : This Deep Purple In Rock Playbutton is an artist mock-up and does not exist in real life (whatever real life is!).

Thanks to Charlie Shaw for spotting this.

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About simon robinson

Having worked as a designer mostly in the music industry, and mainly in the reissue sector, I now concentrate on the design and publication of books about popular culture - and even write some of them.
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