Interesting new products

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There are a number of reasons why people still buy records: there has been more vinyl issued than will ever be digitised. Despite iTunes, record companies have master tapes in vaults that are literally decaying because it isn’t worth their while to digitise – the incremental revenue from their likely market along the tail is more than the specialist care and equipment to digitise them would cost. Then most countries don’t give record companies a licence to print money like the Sonny Bono act did. Finally there are those analogue recordings that may have been issued by record companies that no longer exist or contain samples that would be too much hassle to clear.

Then there is the very different physical experience that you have with buying records from CDs, I am not going to dwell on the fact that vinyl sounds better, but there is a whole tactile experience and ritual. The act of playing a record is a much more considered choice, a ritual: you have to do a number of deliberate actions in order to get a sound. A well pressed vinyl record can give the same pleasure to hold as a fine fountain pen.

Finally there is the packaging, most graphic artists don’t design and envisage their art work to be displayed as a postage stamp on an iPod screen or in the bottom left corner of iTunes. They design for a broader canvas like a 12 1/2 inch x 12 1/2 inch record sleeve. So finally after over two decades of CD sales Blue Note records are now bundling a number of jazz standards including albums by John Coltrane, Art Blakey and Herbie Hancock together as an LP and CD in one package. Personally, it struck me as one of those duh, its so simple ideas. More from Blue Note here.

Uniqlo heattech

Uniqlo has a launched a clothing range as part of its winter collection that heat up once in contact with body moisture, basically if you sweat it heats you up more:

Launched in 2006, HeatTech has already become a winter wardrobe essential in Japan, with 20million units sold last year alone. The uniquely developed HeatTech fabric includes a rayon mix that actually absorbs the moisture generated by the body and converts it into heat. Milk protein, containing natural amino acids, has been mixed with the fibres to ensure the fabric is smooth and soft to the touch; making it not only a heat retaining item, but also the perfect layering garment.

There is a certain counter-intuitive logic in there – perspiration comes from the body needing to cool down or as a reaction to stress (fear, excitement etc). But sales of 20 million units to Japanese customers indicate that heattech could be a winner for Uniqlo.