Much has been made of declining album sales over the last few years in the music industry. Isn’t it time we let albums go in their current format?
Personally, I’ve never been a fan of albums. I’ve always been into buying singles. I buy the songs I like. It’s for this reason that my taste in music has always tended to be quiet eclectic.
I think my issue with albums is that I find it hard to accept that all of the songs on an album are good. If they are good then why aren’t they released as singles? Look at the compilation albums market. They sell more songs than ever – people buy them because they are guaranteed to like most of the songs. That might be the trouble with albums – you don’t know whether all of the songs are good or not. I can probably count fewer than ten albums which I have thought are brilliant. Of course, you got the odd unexpected gem from an album (Champagne Supernova!) but generally I find too many album tracks are just self-indulgent and not good.
I wonder whether they way forward is if artists release their own compilation albums and turn albums into a retrospective compilation rather than a release of new material. New material should be released as exciting new tracks in the singles chart – not confined to a track on an album. See this written about Calvin Harris’ 18 Months album in 2012:
’18 Months’ doesn’t really sound so much like an album as it does like a ‘Now That’s What I Call Music’ compilation from the UK. That isn’t a joke, nor is it too far from the truth. Before the album was even out, a total of six singles had been released from it. And no, not promotional singles – real singles. Four of these reached number two on the UK charts (in a row! What a tease!), while the other two did reach the top spot. Six top two records in a row from one album? Wow. Hence why ’18 Months’ is a lot more like a greatest hits of top 40 UK radio than just his latest LP.
This album was mega successful. Through its release and the songs on it, Calvin Harris enjoyed two whole years of chart domination.
How about Rihanna’s Loud in 2010 – this album and its singles gave her a full year of chart domination. At least half the songs on this album reached the singles chart.
Albums, these days, are not a defined product like they used to be. They are remixed and repackaged from the word go (Ed Sheeran’s ‘x).I say let’s forget about them and move on to compilations.
Here are some other interesting thoughts on albums: