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.