Are albums really necessary anymore?

11/13/2010

Vinyl Stack webbed
Image by FourthFloor
I ask this question because we've been recording and mixing tracks for our new release, and sometimes while we're doing that we'll come up with a new idea for another song and end up spending the rest of our night working on that. The problem is, that new idea gets left at just that for the time being --an idea. Mainly because the next time we get together it's back to working on the songs for the album.

Now the other matter is that when we do finish one song for the album it sits and waits as we record, mix and master the next song for the album. And while we work on that... more and more songs wait for this whole process to end so they can all be released together.

One night we we're talking about how we release all of our stuff digitally anyway. So, why do we need to wait to release these songs?

In an internet world we think that indie bands like ourselves do not need to release songs in an old industry standard format. Why not treat the website as a label?

What we've decided to do is, just release our songs as singles on the website as we write them. After we've got a good number of them we might just put them out as a physical release, like a cd or vinyl for a limited run to pay the bills. But there is no reason we shouldn't just be sharing the music we write as we do it. I mean, that's the point right?

So that's our plan. Soon we will be releasing our first single from these songs.

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6 comments

  1. Personally I think albums only work — whether physically or digitally — if they have a concept. I take them as an art form.

    Like e.g. a Crown of Sonnets can have an added artistic value to a bunch of sonnets on the same topic. But on the other hand, you don't force every sonnet, haïku, epic, … into a crown of sonnets.

    So, if you find a reason to combine any number of songs into a (conceptual) album, I'd be glad to see it. Otherwise bundling songs into albums, just for bunling's sake, is obsolete IMHO.

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  2. @hook that's a great example!

    What is the purpose of grouping them together only to show a number of songs achieved over a time period. When they could just as easily be distributed as they come along. Unless they do tell a continuing story. But even then they could still be released episodically. TV shows follow a concept of characters and roll out once a week. They don't group them all together and release them on one day.

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  3. @Tom:

    The TV series example is not bad. But even those are post-festum grouped into VHS/DVD/… collections, which many like to buy. Similar example could be triologies like Star Wars, Lord of the Rings or Godfather. Each movie is a complete work by itself, but a post-festum collection (perhaps as a collector's edition) is still a nice bonus.

    So, yeah, I'm all for distributing music as individual tracks — even when later on some tracks could be groupped together into a conceptual album. But if some tracks just scream to be together, perhaps with some added story, artwork, videos, website, other arts stuff…, then, by Jove, give it life! (even if it's post-festum)

    Just my 0,0146 € as a music listener…

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  4. @hook

    Ha! Just as I clicked post on that comment I was thinking "What about DVD collections?" Cuz I know people that only watch video that way. :)

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  5. @ Tom:

    Also I remembered that quite a bit of what we call now classical novels and cannot imagine being published otherwise then in a book, was initially published in bite-sized parts in the daily newspaper.

    Anyway I think we mainly agree here, so yeah… ;)

    Oh, I just remembered what's the only mentionable plus of bundling tracks into it's easier to share them via BitTorrent that way :P

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  6. Albums are still necessary in the way that landline phones are still necessary; they are an entrenched technology, and millions of people rely on them to fill their needs (one communication/one music delivery).

    I think people will have a hard time selling a single at a show, but an album still sells.

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