The music album is dead, but not everyone accepted it yet
For many artists and bands, making an album has always been the epitome of their art. This group of songs was a statement of their voice and current state of mind, not to mention a reflection of their social and physical surroundings. It was believed to be the highest form of recorded experience the artist could offer. It wasn’t always like that, and for the most part, it’s not like that now. The problem is, too many artists fail to recognize that the album is quickly becoming a relic of the past and even detrimental to their success.
Today we live in a world of singles. No one systematically sits down for 40 or 50 consecutive minutes to listen to an album back and forth like before. In our portable music society today where music streaming from Spotify or Apple Music is king, there is no reason to be tied to the music playing system or to listen to songs that we do not. don’t want to listen. If so, why should an artist even bother spending the months it takes to create an album? It’s not as if people are consuming them in large numbers, and the costs involved can sometimes put both the artist and the record company in financial jeopardy.
For example, album sales fell another 17.7% to 169.15 million copies sold last year according to Nielsen Music. This includes all forms of the album, including CDs, digital albums, vinyl records, and cassettes. Compare that to 1999, when 939.9 million CDs alone were sold, according to the RIAA.
Not only that, the best-selling album didn’t really sell that much compared to the past. Taylor Swift Reputation topped the list last year with just 1.9 million sales, and much of that was related to its controversy buy-an-album-have-a-chance-for-a-concert-ticket plan. There was only one other album that broke the million mark last year, and that was Ed Sheeran’s. To divide to 1.1 million. Remember when a successful artist could sell that in a week? They are long gone.
For the most part, hip-hop artists saw the light before the rest of the industry, focusing on releasing more frequent singles instead of waiting for a bunch of songs to finish before releasing an album (the way traditional albums was made). The idea is that having a new song on the charts right now is better than waiting until next year to release a 10-song album, which probably only one or two will get attention anyway.
So we go back to the ways of the early music business, which was based on the single. The only way an artist was even considered for an album in the 50s and 60s was if they had a few hit singles first. If an artist reached this point, the contract usually stated that the artist was responsible for making two albums per year, which in reality wasn’t the best thing for consistent song quality, although it didn’t seem harm some legends like the Beatles. and Elton John, who still managed to release beloved hit albums from that period that are still considered classics today. It wasn’t until the ’70s that artists started spending several years making an album, which is almost career suicide in today’s instant access mindset where your audience may move on if he hasn’t heard from you in a few months. .
Apple’s recent decision to no longer accept ITunes LP submissions show that music consumers are currently not interested in a set of songs and / or videos, at least until a new format changes consumption patterns. While some rare artists are able to make a statement with an album of intertwined songs that form a concept, there are few these days. It’s time for artists, bands and labels to give in to the fact that we live in a world of singles and an album just isn’t the product consumers are looking for.