Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deep Thoughts by The Captain: Is the album extinct?

An interesting post over at The Vault got my mind juices flowing. The discussion was about albums and how there are some artists playing full album sets live to preserve the album as on art form. In today's iTunes enviroment albums have been replaced with single song downloads and playlists thus making the concept of a collection of connected songs become increasingly endangered.

As I considered this I not only agreed with the writer but wondered if the album as an art form has already become extinct. While artists are still releasing material in the form of an album, rarely are the songs connected in content or theme. Because the length of time between releases has greatly increased over time for most artists the songs aren't even linked in regards to when they were recorded.

What would be the impact if in the future music was not released through an album but only through singles? Instead of going to the studio to crank out a full album, musicians would go to the studio to lay down one song at a time. Taking this a step further - is there any chance that with the convenience of iTunes and other music download providers that record lables may decide the cost for materials is not worth the expense for a single and then physical hard copies of music become extinct as well?

This further supports my theory that the human race will one day end up as nothing but mindless drones sitting on cushy seats living life through an online sim.


p.w. said...

will the album (and eventually, physical discs) become extinct? i hope not. even with the likes of itunes and single song downloads, there are still people who enjoy listening to full albums, so i think the format is here to stay. but really, who knows what will happen in the future?

"While artists are still releasing material in the form of an album, rarely are the songs connected in content or theme."

that's why i love concept albums; it gives the impression (at least, to me) that the artist has put effort into creating their release, rather than just thrown together a bunch of songs.

Tonya said...

I also albums will not become extinct. I like a concept album because it marks the band's current state of creativity. Each album forms a progression of growth and expression.

Music Guru said...

I have long been trying to convince all of my "Non-Music Geek" friends to buy albums (even if it is a digital version), but I seem to be losing the battle. No one seems interested in albums as a whole, and to be honest the record companies don't seem all that interested in is pushing an album either, it is much easier to prop a single and leave it at that.

I have always beleived that, for the most part, artists try to plan every aspect of an album, from song writing, to the song order, to the cover art, even down to the list of whom to thank.

Vinyl records are the best example of this. They had enough space to truley give the atist some room to express themselves, and I still try an buy vinyl whenever I can, it is still a great medium. But I love albums as a whole, and maybe I am a dying breed, but you wont convince me otherwise. And it sad that they, consumers and labels, are so short sided these days, it goes back to my favorite mantra about modern pop music, "all style no substance"... I still want substance!