National Album Day is a new (est. 2018) annual event that aims to highlight the joy one can get from listening to a full album from start to finish with no skipping tracks and no interruption (unless you’re turning over a vinyl LP.)
The idea is to experience the collective works of an artist in the way the artist intended.
So far this is just a UK thing–officially, anyway–but that shouldn’t stop us from following through on our own.
The concept of the album is under siege. Playlists, collections of individual songs from individual artists, are driving listening on streaming music services. Fewer people say they have the time or the inclination to sit through a carefully-sequenced selection of material from one artist.
Fred Jacobs at JacobsMedia takes up the thread.
“For the second consecutive year, they’re celebrating National Album Day supported by BBC Sounds. This group isn’t just talking about vinyl (although it’s a component) but the album format that’s been with us for decades.
“Because of digital music delivery, the album format may be nearing the end of its life cycle. A study of 2,000 adults in the UK revealed nearly half are listening to fewer complete albums than just a few years ago.
“Many – especially those under 25 – put albums on shuffle or just keep playing the same individual songs, rather than listening to the entire sequence as it was originally recorded.
“Digital Music News broke down the study and came up with a few fascinating factoids that help explain why all the fuss about National Album Day:
- 15% of these UK music fans under 25 have never listened to an album in its entirety (as we used to say on AOR stations).
- Just over one-fourth actually play albums in the order in which they were recorded, especially men.
- Live events spur interest in album listening. A whopping 74% say they’re more apt to listen to an album after they’ve seen the artist in concert.
“We don’t know whether these numbers would differ very much here in the US. Oddly, Deezer found that Scots are quite a bit more likely to listen to album than Brits. Go figure.”
So set aside some time, pull out a classic album or something new that’s piqued your interest, sit back and relax. And no skipping. Let the music take you away.