This article was published on February 23 and updated on March 18 to reflect the KAWS collab
I KNOW NIGO, NIGO's debut album, is a star-studded affair, shedding the Human Made founder's legacy of producing J-pop and trip hop in favor of a trap-flavored gumbo, seasoned with appearances from famous pals like A$AP Rocky and Kid Cudi.
Though this all seems like the 51-year-old designer stepping into the future, I KNOW NIGO is also an amusing step backward: the record will launch on CD the same day it drops on streaming services. Remember CDs?
Fans can pre-order merch (CDs and T-shirts) on I KNOW NIGO's web store with an estimated shipping date of March 25, the day the album drops.
Now, I'm sure that Victor Victor, the Universal-owned record label that's putting out NIGO's new music, will also get I KNOW NIGO on streaming platforms, but it's amusing that this collection of poppy tunes will be pressed into a pretty outdated format — there's not even any vinyl!
Or so it'd seem: CD sales hit record highs in 2021, thanks to hyped releases from household names like Taylor Swift and Adele.
NIGO doesn't have the same cultural cache, admittedly, but there's probably a better reason that I KNOW NIGO will be given the CD treatment.
CDs remain the most popular music format in NIGO's native Japan, see, representing about 70% of the country's recorded music sales (streaming services, meanwhile, only recently notched 20%).
Japanese consumers collect CDs in droves, accounting for a whopping 45.8% of global CD revenue (over $1.2 billion).
“Music fans here like buying CDs to show support for their favorite artists," Tatsuro Yagawa, a spokesman for stalwart Japanese chain Tower Records, told Reuters. "I don’t think people will stop buying CDs.”
So the decision to put I KNOW NIGO on perhaps the least desirable physical format isn't a cheeky nod to NIGO's retro-cool design ethos; it's a practical business move.
No love for cassettes, though.