Dismiss Notice
We are rebuilding the search index and other forum caches this morning. Search results may not appear correct until indexing has completed, and the forum may respond a little slower than normal until this has finished.

Albums are dead.

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by manco, Jan 15, 2019.

  1. James5001

    James5001 Forum Resident

    It's dead for current artists loading up on Beatles, Stones or Dylan reissues & supa dooper anniversary edition boxsets doesn't make it alive.
  2. Bassist

    Bassist Forum Resident

    There are two different things going on here - the amount of physical product is undoubtedly in decline (for now at least, maybe for good). Can't deny the numbers. People like us are still holding up our end (someone has to buy all these 40th and 50th anniversary packages) but for mainstream consumers (the ones who might buy three or four albums a year max) the ground has shifted.

    However (and there is a degree of generalisation here) new concertos still come in at around 30 minutes and symphonies around the hour mark. New operas are still an evening's worth of entertainment 2 -3 hours (or more) including intervals. Songwriters in pop, folk, rock genres still largely compose works in the 3 - 5 minute range and release them in bundles of 10-12. These are conventions that go back centuries in the case of the first three and many decades to the birth of the lp when it comes to pop. It's ingrained. Of course the length of the lp was itself determined by the duration of classical repertoire in the first place so there is a virtuous circle here that links recorded music to a tradition of creativity that harks back to the 17th century.

    Apart from anything else most of the artists that influence today's acts thought about and curated their work in 40 minute chunks. That 40 minutes expanded (for the worse in most cases) when the cd came along but that core lp length sensibility is still being passed down and so is unlikely to disappear until the artists of a future era are being influenced by artists who abandoned the album as the prime way of organising new music for release. When it comes to rock / pop formats that may not happen in my lifetime.

    It's not just the over 50s buying this stuff either. There is a very long tail of concert attendees and listeners who fell in love with music in a pre-itunes / pre-Napster world who will have to stop paying for music before these formats disappear entirely. The youngest generation who that applies to are probably in their late 20s right now.

    There are also genres that only exist because of the album. Prog for one and that doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon given the amount of business being done by the likes of Steven Wilson, King Crimson, the two Yeses, Steve Hackett etc etc.

    Yes, we do see plenty of artists realising tracks in isolation (though non album singles / eps are nothing new - The Beatles The Clash and The Smiths, to name but 3) and we are definitely seeing a move towards mini-albums in genres where physical goods are very much of the past BUT the one disc statement still rules and if you are touring act with an audience from an over 30s demographic and rely on merch then you are very likely going to have physical music products to sell. That in turn is going to determine the format of the recordings that people make and release.

    Heritage artists who say there is no interest in new albums are quite possibly not making music that people are interested in. That's the art not the format. Of course it might help if they actually played their new albums on stage rather than burying a couple of toilet break tunes among the hits.
  3. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    My concern is that I’m reading because of this, artists are moving away from putting out ten song albums and are just going to release an ocassional single. That’s a considerate game changer obviously, and quite disappointing if you really enjoy buying albums. Could be coming to the end of the road on something many of us have enjoyed since, well, birth?
    OptimisticGoat and mozz like this.
  4. Timmy84

    Timmy84 Forum Resident

    North Carolina
    People are basing this concept of death over someone that will be forgotten at the end of the year? :sigh:
    Klassik, Mr.Sean, Opeth and 4 others like this.
  5. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Hmmm, sounds interesting. Is that available on vinyl? :D
  6. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    It's not dead, it just smells funny
  7. jkauff

    jkauff Putin-funded Forum Troll

    Akron, OH
    When I sold records back in the first golden age of vinyl, people who only cared about the hit song bought it on a 45 for a dollar or so. We sold huge quantities of 45s.

    Then came the age of the CD, when consumers were forced to pay obscene prices for an entire album to get the one hit song they wanted.

    Then came iTunes and the downloadable hit single (still for a dollar or so). Albums as a percentage of total sales went back down to their previous vinyl levels.

    Today you can stream an entire album without buying it. You can make a playlist of the songs you like, creating your own "album", still without paying for it. So for many people, yes, the artist-crafted album is dead. Which is OK, because these people have NEVER cared about albums--they just want the hits.

    However, most of us here on the SH forum are album people, and we're going to have a problem. The only way I could get the Beach Boys new Friends Sessions and 20/20 Sessions was to download the albums from iTunes in a lossy format. It killed me to do it, since I never buy lossy downloads, but that was my only option. I'm afraid that's the direction the album format will go.
    buddachile, Wounded Land, Jrr and 4 others like this.
  8. BrilliantBob

    BrilliantBob Select, process, CTRL+c, CTRL+z, ALT+v

    Albums are not dead. Streaming is consumer grade and can't replace the ritual of playing a vinyl with a proper audio chain. The streaming services can't offer that feeling of immersive sound because their music technically speaking is poor quality. It's a free world. We talk here about quantity vs quality.
  9. correctodad

    correctodad Forum Resident

    I've been watching that movie for like an hour and that bowl of popcorn is STILL full.
    ARK, Mr.Sean, keyse1 and 11 others like this.
  10. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    For that Beach Boys album I hope that some Russian bootlegger does the job as soon as possible.
  11. beewood

    beewood Forum Resident

    I think the only solution for 21st century attention spans is to start releasing digestive, bite-sized snippets of major hits from various time frames.

    The last chorus of She Loves You should be first. 10 second limit on all tracks. Go over that and people start connecting with artists and developing feelings of empathy. Very catastrophic for the financial system so not advised.
  12. delmonaco

    delmonaco Forum Resident

    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Just realized that my home is full with racks filled with cadavers... shall I call the police?
  13. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    It's called a ringtone
  14. Spaceboy

    Spaceboy Forum Resident

    Does anyone care about singles charts anymore?
    tug_of_war likes this.
  15. Carl Swanson

    Carl Swanson Forum Resident

    Nah, they'll just wanna know whodunit.
  16. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

  17. EdwinM

    EdwinM Grumpy old man

    Problem solved:

    That will teach them
    tug_of_war and Celebrated Summer like this.
  18. Classicrock

    Classicrock Forum Resident

    South West, UK.
    Streaming is about individual tracks. Sampling and not playing a whole album. How streaming can count towards album sales is puzzling. Artist still want to make albums and industry still revolves around that format with most 'singles' still there to promote albums. The physical album is also alive and kicking with sales in tens of millions. Much lower than the peak of CD production but remaining commercially important. The single hardly exists however in any physical form other than promotions. This is were streaming has taken over. Perhaps the resurrection of Technics TTs will bring the 12" single back via DJs.
  19. Holy Diver

    Holy Diver Forum Resident

  20. DragonQ

    DragonQ Forum Resident

    The Moon
    I originally assumed this thread was about albums as compared to singles or shuffled music...I can't remember the last time I listened to an album start to finish without skipping, replacing, or shuffling tracks.

    However, I see it's about owning vs streaming music. Streaming is really convenient but to me it's a radio replacement, not a music library replacement. I am amazed so many people are happy with not actually owning the media they want to consume. Same with films and TV: you subscribe to Netflix or whatever and your favourite show is on there, great. What if there's a licensing dispute and that show is removed from the service? Now you have no way to access it.

    CDs (or lossless downloads) and BDs for me, please.
  21. jkauff

    jkauff Putin-funded Forum Troll

    Akron, OH
    Not true for everyone. I have a close friend who listens to albums most of the day. She's in her early 60s and doesn't own a music playback system of any kind. Spotify and YouTube are her music "collection", and she plays everything on her MacBook Pro or her iPhone. She likes artists like Kevin Ayers and Captain Beefheart, and has no trouble finding them online. Sound quality is of no interest to her, just the music and its availability. She loves streaming.
    ARK, bpmd1962, Witchy Woman and 2 others like this.
  22. angelo73

    angelo73 Cast Your Fate to the Wind

    Orbiting Sgr A*
    Timothy Leary's dead
  23. R. Cat Conrad

    R. Cat Conrad Almost Famous

    D/FW Metroplex
    No, no, he's outside looking in! :righton:

  24. Nice Marmot

    Nice Marmot Nothin’ feels right but doin’ wrong anymore

    Tryon NC

    Popcorn is too much.
  25. Andrew J

    Andrew J Forum Resident

    South East England
    Not very substantial bit of trolling on your part. Completely wrong, there's a lot of fantastic music being made, even if people like yourself are too complacent / lazy to look for it.
    Paul R, tug_of_war, phillyal1 and 2 others like this.

Share This Page