Ongoing History Daily: The end of planned song segues

In the old days of physical media, it was very common for albums to be mixed in such a way that one song blended seamlessly into the next. These transitions and segues were an important part of the album listening experience, linking together songs and providing a pleasing musical flow.

The Beatles did this a lot from Sgt. Pepper onwards and beautifully mastered by Pink Floyd, especially with Dark Side of the Moon, which functions largely as one continous piece except for the gap between “Great Gig in the Sky” at the end of side one of the vinyl and “Money,” the lead-off track on side two.

These careful segues didn’t so much start to disappear as they were destroyed by the digital era, especially after the appearance of iTunes.

Tracks that were once conjoined were ripped apart, destroying those careful segues. The practice has since been exacerbated by streaming music services. Now two songs that were meant to be heard back-to-back without a moment’s interruption are separated by an annoying pause—well, annoying for those who remember how the songs were originally meant to be heard.

Another victim of progress, I guess.

Check out Friday’s post on the Deep Six compilation.

And don’t forget to check out my podcast The Ongoing History of New Music where you listen on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogleStitcher, or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

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.

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