Monday Trivia: What Is the Longest Album Ever Released?

What is the longest album in your collection? And I’m not talking about just a single disc. It has to be a unified package of brand new material (not a box set or collection of previous releases) that stretches across multiple discs that were released as one package at the same time.

The longest I’ve been able to find is a 2013 release called MEN by a Welsh band called Quiet Marauder. Its 111 songs span four CDs and have a total running time of four hours, 49 minutes and 20 seconds.

Released by a Cardiff label called Bubblewrap Records, it wasn’t originally planned to be this long. The songs just kept coming and Quiet Marauder didn’t want to leave anything out. And as far as the Guinness Book of World Records can tell, this is absolutely the longest standalone album ever created.

You can read all about it here.

What is the longest-running single rock CD in your collection? I’m talking about music on a single standard 120 cm CD.

In 2016, Avenged Sevenfold released The Stage, which has a running time of 73 minutes and 35 seconds. But the absolute champion seems to be 1991’s Blood Sugar Sex Magick from the Red Hot Chili Peppers runs 73 minutes and 55 seconds, just five seconds under the standard theoretical 74-minute maximum capacity of an old-school CD.

Over the last decade, though, there seems to have been a backlash against such long CDs as people began to complain that artists were pushing quantity over quality. Albums began to get shorter and tighter. But now we’re swinging back towards longer albums—and it’s not for reasons that you may expect.

First of all, there’s no physical format to cap how long an album can be. But more importantly, we have to consider the mathematics of streaming payouts. Official chart rules say that 1500 streams of any song from any album count the same as the sale of one CD. The more songs you have on an album, the more chances you have of reaching at 1500 stream mark. That means your album goes up the chart more and you get paid more. Clever, huh?

 

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 “Monday Trivia: What Is the Longest Album Ever Released?

  • January 8, 2018 at 4:01 pm
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    Metallica – Load. 79 minutes.

    Reply
  • August 6, 2019 at 8:37 pm
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    48 hours 57 minutes 17 seconds 400 songs over 39 CDs in a box set. The CD slipcases fit together into a puzzle 10 covers wide – 4 covers high.

    Reply

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