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New study says we’re listening to albums all wrong

Back in the days of vinyl albums, people tended to listen to records all the way through. We’d start with side one, track one, listen to the entire side, flip it and listen to the second side. It was often too much trouble to move the tonearm across songs you didn’t want to hear so you just put up with it.

Same thing with cassettes. Yeah, we could fast-forward through songs we didn’t want to hear, but we often couldn’t be arsed.

But when CD players came along in the middle 80s, we began making use of the skip button. One click and the offending/boring/tired songs was omitted from the listing experience. We got used to the idea of skipping, an idea that continues unabated today with streaming sites.

Yet artists continue to make albums in the old way, thinking that fans will listen to the songs in the order which they artist intends.

Nope. Not happening.

Deezer, the French streaming service, conducted a survey of UK music fans found the following.

  • 49% of music fans were listening to fewer full albums than they were five years ago.
  • 42% put favourite songs on shuffle or play individual tracks. (For people under 25, that number rises to 55%.
  • 15% of music fans under 25 have never listen to a full album. Ever.
  • About a quarter of listeners (27%) play an album front-to-back in the old school way.
  • About 74% say that there’s a better chance that they’ll listen to a full album after seeing that artist play live.

Via Hypebot

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 38536 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “New study says we’re listening to albums all wrong

  • I can agree but also add that I haven’t bought an album in some years. With Spotify is changes the way we listen to music. In the past playing records was an experience. The Cars self titled album was one of those albums that when you put the neddle down and just listened you discovered how great every sound and song was on the album. Not one bad tune ! I’m sure because of this effort not to skip, lazy. has launched bands to a higher popularity. Today there is a resurgence in returning to record format. Warmer full bodied dynamics as apposed to cd and mp3 versions. Though the dynamic range is said to be higher with CD’s and MP3’s when you listen to records your welcomed with it seems higher dynamic range but deeper bass & depth. For the band there is no other way except paying to see them live and buying their swag then buying their album. Luckily bands are giving us that option to have a genuine physical copy and to our reward discovering the other gems on the album. Alan thank you for your reports which are part of the dynamic of the music we listen to !


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