I ran across this article a couple weeks ago on +Variety's website that talked about how the concept of the album doesn't work anymore for today's music listener. There are a lot of good points in this article, and his thoughts are further proven with the reception to +Lady Gaga's new album. As a musician/artist, that just released his first album, the surprising thing is that I agree with him, to a point. If there is a reason that fans/consumers don't want to buy albums anymore it's covered in these two statements from the article: "There are so many diversions that no one's got time for mediocre anymore," and, "No one wants album tracks anymore unless they're every bit as satisfying as the hit." I know we've all been a victim of this at one point or another. You hear the hit single from an artist. You really like that song, so you buy the album. Upon listening to the album you realize the only good song on there is the single, and maybe one or two more songs if you're lucky. The music industry became such a singles driven industry that, that's where the focus was put instead of on the entire project, and as a result the music listener got burned one too many times. Even huge artist have fallen victim to this mindset at labels. I remember reading an interview with +Eminem around the time when the 1st Marshall Mathers LP was coming out. The label was really harping on him to create another silly song in the vain of, "My Name Is." He eventually complied and created the song, "The Real Slim Shady," but out of his frustration he also wrote the song, "The Way I Am," which ended up being one of the biggest selling singles from that album.
So what's the answer to this conundrum? Is their a solution to this problem? Should artists give up on the idea of a straight up album? With the advances in technology we are no longer forced to buy an entire album to hear a song that we like. We can buy the single for .99 on +iTunes, look it up for free on +YouTube , or stream it from +Spotify. Well, there have been a few artist that have shown that it is still possible to numbers in this new technological environment. Artist such as +Taylor Swift, Eminem, +Justin Timberlake, and +Adele have managed to find success and do big numbers. They find this success by simply being the best at what they do and consistently putting out quality work, no gimmicks necessary, and their labels marketing budget didn't hurt either. But these artists proved that if you prove yourself consistently to your audience, they will come out in droves to support you, and will wait with excitement for your next project.
Is the concept of the album over? No, it's not. Nothing beats the anticipation of getting ready to listen to the latest masterpiece from your favorite artist. But, as artist we do need to constantly be working on out craft, becoming better and better at what we do. We have to put out a quality product every time so that our audience knows they're going to get something special when they sit down and listen to our latest project. Otherwise we will be relegated to the Spotify playlists, checking out our latest song on YouTube, and if they really like it downloading the song from iTunes.