For How Long Should an Artist Disappear Between Albums?

Back in the early days of rock, artists put out records at an astonishing rate.  Two or more albums a year wasn’t uncommon.  

I mean, just look at the Beatles:  two albums in ’63, seven in ’64, three is ’65, two in ’67 and two in ’69. Dylan was also very prolific, averaging just under two albums a year through the 60s and 70s.  Led Zeppelin?  A new record every 12 months.

What’s even more amazing is that the public didn’t seem to grow weary and overdose on these artists.

Now, though, things are different.  The lifecycle of an album run two years and often longer.  There are marketing schedules and touring schedules and promotional schedules.  And the entire time, the artist, their songs, their videos and their tours are in front of the public.

Then they disappear.  They call it a “hiatus.”

U2 is one band that understands the need to go away for a while.  Not only does this time away from the spotlight allow them to recharge their creative spirits, but it also gives the public a chance to miss them. Then when they come back, it’s a big deal.

Radio consultant Sean Ross looks at the concept of the artist hiatus.  Is it a good idea?  What kinds of artists need to take a break?

Meanwhile, have a look at Bono’s famous “Go away and dream it up all over again” speech from the end of the Lovetown tour, which marked the beginning of the gap between The Joshua Tree/Rattle and Hum and Achtung Baby.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

2 thoughts on “For How Long Should an Artist Disappear Between Albums?

  • April 19, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    As a fan of Nine Inch Nails, it's tough for me to answer that question…

  • May 13, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    I remember seeing Bedouin Soundclash in Vancouver just as their big hit was getting bigger thanks to a Zellers commercial. They told us that night that they had finished recording their next album – Street Gospels, and that it ought to be out in a few months.

    As Sounding A Mosaic got bigger, they clearly kept Street Gospels from being released to let the wave take its course.


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