Is the musical album dead?
October 21, 2009 5:53 PM Subscribe
Is it worth my time to record an album in the digital age?
posted by analogue to media & arts (23 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Perhaps not the deepest philosophical conundrum, but let's just say I'm a moderately successful musician with several albums under my belt. Traditionally I've released a new album every three years or so since 1997.
For each album, I've spent nearly a third of my time just on the artistic direction of the album, think of it as "the concept", basically the entire art "experience" of the person buying the album. That means artwork, packaging, track order, marketing plan, singles and remixes, and overall sound (think of this last item as a mixing or production methodology, basically a list of rules to ensure each song "sounds" like it belong on the album).
With the advent of iTunes I'm personally finding myself buying less and less albums in favor of individual songs. And though my previous albums are selling significantly less physical units, when I look at the digital sales reports from my distributor, I've noticed that the quantity of "entire album" digital sales is actually higher than the amount of physical units we have sold in the past. That is, I'm selling more "albums" than ever before, so even though people have the option of purchasing individual songs or whole albums, more folks than ever are buying the albums.
So if you're still with me, my question is this: As I start putting together the concept for my next musical endeavor, do I need to think of it as an album or do I just put out a bunch of songs? If it's the latter, I will definitely miss the artistic process of creating the whole package, but maybe it just means this curmudgeon needs to get with the times.