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Music Industry

Is this the solution for saving the album from extinction?

The album has been the main currency of the recorded music industry since about 1965 when it took over from 7-singles as the dominate format. But with streaming’s emphasis on individual songs and playlists, the whole concept of the album is under fire. Will this be the way artists release music going forward. Maybe. Maybe not.

There are, however, people working to save the album from extinction. Check out this article from Music Week.

Is the album dead?

That’s the question some people will be asking as National Album Day and the Hyundai Mercury Prize loom and they contemplate 2020’s coronavirus-disrupted release schedule.

After all, when someone like Damon Albarn – this week’s Music Week cover star and a man responsible for several of the greatest LPs of all time – favours streaming-friendly, single-track ‘episodes’ over a complete body of work, it suggests that something is up.

That something, however, may not be the album itself. Given that the way people listen to music has been completely reshaped since Gorillaz’s first record, it’s probably long overdue that artists and labels are looking at different ways of delivering their music.

Keep reading.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38343 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “Is this the solution for saving the album from extinction?

  • Though I’m no dinosaur, however, perhaps I’m following those dodgy footprints towards extinction. I love “albums” as a snapshot of an artist’s distinct vision within the timeframe it was created. I like the entire package of artwork, visuals and songs that frame a particular period for all artists. Singles are great for maintaining interest and even artistic freedom but for me, listening to playlists, shifting from artist to artist loses the vibe only an album can create. Going from say Simple Minds to Bob Marley to Marilyn Manson is great but you’ve already forgotten about Simple Minds and Bob Marley. It’s like scrolling through your Facebook or Instagram feed and not remembering any of the things you just read only seconds ago. To truly appreciate what you’re hearing you have to savour it and let it soak in which is damn near impossible within 3minutes. At the very least give us a 4-5 song EP.

    • Hit the nail on the head! I love music and follow the rabbit hole of an artist’s projects pretty deeply and love exploring how my favourite artists evolve. There is a time and place for mindless “shuffle play” listening but the satisfaction in hearing an album front to back in a track sequence the artist chose for a reason is a great joy to me. I hate to sound condescending, but maybe Damon Albarn prefers singles over entire albums right now is because he’s feeling in a dry spot creatively?

      • Cheers Mike. I’m the same in respect to chasing down every offering/project an artist releases. Some times you find some amazing lost or undiscovered work. In respect to Damon, perhaps he’s just seeing the future and feels that putting all that energy into a complete project isn’t worth the time and/or money when the majority of people are skipping tracks after 10 seconds. It’s a sad statement for the current trend but hopefully it will swing back to an appreciation for the complete package. I’m likely being overly optimistic.


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