Album sales have been on a decline always from the moment Napster allowed us to choose songs a la carte. Digital stores like iTunes, HMV’s The Vault and others which offer single-song purchases have only reinforced that trend.
So here’s the question: what should we do about the habit of making albums? Music Industry Blog has a modest proposal: the “hybrid album.”
We are in the midst of a transition from ownership to access models but it is a shift that will take a generation to complete. The intervening years will all be about managing the transition, both in terms of educating consumers but also with regards to ensuring that the revenue shift is as smooth as possible. The download and the stream will co-exist for many years – especially in many emerging markets – and Apple’s iTunes Radio is a key example of how the two technologies can live side by side. But more still needs to be done. To that end what follows is a product strategy proposal that puts streaming into the very heart of download experiences while simultaneously driving download spending.
The Hybrid Album is a very simple and straightforward proposition: