Is the album on it's deathbed?

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Is the album on it's deathbed?  Empty Is the album on it's deathbed?

Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 12:53

Do you think iTunes and the iPod shuffle have killed the album as an artform? Could a mega-seller that sets the country alight like “What’s the Story Morning Glory” ever happen in a world where we can now cherry pick our favourite tracks and intersperse them amongst our existing library of songs?

I’m as guilty of it as anybody else – even though I absolutely hate it when I’m listening to my iPod and a track form “Dark Side of the Moon” disjointedly begins or ends abruptly. Another of my pet hates is album artwork reduced to a small image on a screen. As if an afterthought to the music. Will album artwork eventually become obsolete, or less of a focus to today’s artists?

It pains me to imagine all those unappreciated non-singles that lurk towards the end of a good record going unloved and undiscovered by so many.

Do you still listen to albums in their entirety?
Do you still buy physical copies of new albums?

I still do for the car. But could we realistically be on the road towards record labels shunning a physical release altogether?

What are your thoughts?


Last edited by Electric Demon on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:05; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Adam D on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:03

Electric Demon wrote:
I still do for the car. But could we realistically be on the road towards record labels shunning a physical relief altogether?
Shocked

I still do buy hard copies and listen to albums all the way through. But then again I like prog rock and there is no other way!


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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:05

Adam D (Hobo) wrote:
Electric Demon wrote:
I still do for the car. But could we realistically be on the road towards record labels shunning a physical relief altogether?
Shocked

I still do buy hard copies and listen to albums all the way through. But then again I like prog rock and there is no other way!


Sorry. That's an awful typo Laugh

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Post by Dass on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:19

If I feel the album is deserving enough or in a lot of cases itunes doesn't have it then I'll buy the physical copies. What I'll normally do is go on youtube and listen to the full album on there if I'm undecided on a new artist before deciding on a hard copy or not.

While I do think the album is a dying breed there's nothing quite like having the physical copy in your hand when the music warrants it. I do feel that listening to a full album is necessary as often the best songs are unreleased singles.

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Post by sodhat on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:24

I download everything now (legally) only because it's easier and I'm lazier.

I don't cherry pick single songs however, that irritates me no end so I only download full albums.

I don't miss having the CD or artwork of the album, but maybe I'm a phillistine. So long as I get the music itself I'm happy, and iTunes has made it easier for me to blow money before I realise what I'm doing. I literally don't think and then bam, I've spent a fortune by just moving my index finger.

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Post by Cari on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:26

Singles were originally issued to showcase an album. You'd get one four minute track to promote the artist, and depending on how that did, a further couple of singles would come out followed by the album. However, it's the album which is most important. Anyone can sell the odd single, but an album is more to the artist. Therefore, I don't think the album is dying at all - even in download form. Albums also produce hidden gems - tracks that are never released as singles, but are your firm favourites. There's loads of examples, I was considering doing a whole thread about it. You can't do a concept single - but you can do a whole concept album - event a series of albums with one theme. I think some artists will always be interested in trying something like that, being the pretentious gits they can be Wink Speaking of pretentious - many albums can only exist in that format - anything by The Orb, Future Sound of London or Tubular Bells and Oxygene for example. They can't really be split into singles, you have to listen to the whole album to appreciate them (the latter two were classic by the way).

In fact in some ways, downloading has contributed to the resurgance of classic albums - as has the internet generally - older stuff posted on You Tube appealing to younger people. When I was young, I discovered a lot of good old music through the record collections of my mum and older siblings, and when the CD came out in the '80s, many people thought it would kill off older stuff, but it didn't. Marketing was adapted to appeal to popular demand. The music itself is still timeless and accessible and will endure regardless of format I think.

Vinyl albums/singles have enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years too which will keep albums going. I'll buy a CD album if I like the whole thing, and/or the artist. For example, I discovered Villagers over the internet but I bought their album and EP on CD formats because I like reading the lyrics and artwork. I also like buying collectable/limited edition issues as well which you don't get by downloading really.


Last edited by Cari on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:42; edited 1 time in total

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Post by MtotheC's Wrasslin Biatch on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:42

You should post a thread about "hidden gems" - that would be a good topic

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Post by Crimey on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:44

I usually listen to a single, and then check out the album because of that, which I suppose is the purpose of a single. I don't listen to an album in order though.

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Post by Cari on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:45

I did consider it Demon, because I think even big classics get overlooked because of their "classic" status and therefore some of the better tacks on them go unnoticed.

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Post by Cari on Wed 14 Sep 2011, 13:56


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Post by dyrewolfe on Mon 19 Sep 2011, 14:08

I think the album is in pretty good health and will be for the foreseeable future.

True, the iPod generation may not care about having physical medium for their music, may prefer to pick and choose tracks and may not be big fans of any particular artist. However, as long as there are music fans out there who are appreciate albums as complete bodies of work, or who are long-time fans of particular bands, there will be a market for them.

As Cari pointed out, just because technology advances, it doesn't mean older forms die out. A few years ago there was a resurgence in vinyl - mainly in dance music, for professional or hobbyist DJs to put on their turntables. More recently, bands have started releasing new work, or re-releasing older albums on vinyl again, to cater to audiophiles, collectors and fans.

Not only that but as I read in a music mag recently, theres been a curious reversal over the last 10-15 years. In times gone by, bands would tour to promote themselves and their latest album and would get the bulk of their money from album sales. Nowadays with music readily (and more cheaply) available over the internet, many artists are now releasing albums to get themselves on the radar and then go touring to earn their corn.
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Post by Cari on Tue 20 Sep 2011, 09:37

Dyre - agree on the gigs. I think that the increase in the instantaneous X Factor/Pop Idol singers has pushed the interests in albums and gigs up more too. Artists are getting out there to prove themselves and promote their own material more these days - even the well established ones like U2, Coldplay and Madonna are still doing massive tours when they don't have to. As I said, anyone can have a one-off number one single that sells millions, but hardcore music fans expect the whole package - the albums and the live performances. It's the artists who do the albums and gigs that endure not the Pop Idol off the telly who has one high selling single.

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Post by Shifty on Thu 22 Sep 2011, 19:38

The thing about albums is it's normally 2-3 good songs (if your lucky) and a lot of rubbish, so why not cut the rubbish out?

I think buying music in general is pretty much dead these days, the future of music is concerts.
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Post by Cari on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 09:02

Alyn - your post is somewhat contradictory. If artists only recorded "2 or 3 good songs (if [they] are lucky)" you wouldn't have much in the way of gigs because the artists would have nothing to promote or enough material to play of their own, and you wouldn't have the hidden gems you posted on that thread. Everyone would just make singles/E.Ps and play each others songs. How dull.

To be fair there have been some albums which are classics in their entirety - just look at the sales figures of albums by Jean Michael Jarre and Mike Oldfield. They don't make commercial albums, and yet they've sold millions. They might not be to everyone's taste, but they've done some great albums between them.

Music taste is relative, so if you have an album of ten songs, everyone who buys that album will have a different view of which songs are good or not. Doesn't mean to say that they should never have been recorded or included on that album.

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Post by dyrewolfe on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 13:55

Well said Cari.

You could also add certain albums by Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and many other bands, which are generally hailed as classics, with few, if any, weak tracks on them.

Personally, I'd add Queensryche's Operation: Mindcrime, Def Leppard's Pyromania and Hysteria.

There aren't many albums I can think of that I can listen to all the way through and think every song is great, but if I put my mind to it, I could probably come up with 10 or so.

I expect the same is true for most people.
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Post by Cari on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 14:12

Dyre - I'm sure there are many well established artists who've have done a few albums that are considered classics in their entirety - thinking of The Beatles, Stones, Pink Floyd et al. Other albums I could recommend every track on are The Joshua Tree (U2) Appetite For Destruction (Guns n Roses) and Endtroducing (DJ Shadow). However, fans of those artists may even disagree with me on that. Smile

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Post by Celtic Warrior on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 14:43

I would personally put forward Moby - Play. I'm not a huge Mody fan but I can happily put that on and listen to it from start to finish.

Also a massive commercial success. I believe that every single song from that album was sampled in movies/adverts.

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Post by Cari on Fri 23 Sep 2011, 14:46

Celtic - yeah that's a good choice. There was a spin-off album from it as well which featured all the the original songs that he'd sampled on Play on it.

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