Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Killing off the album once again

It’s the meme which refuses to go away. Every so often, a music business pundit sticks his or her head above the parapet and declares that the death of the album is nigh. This time, it’s former Warner Music Group …

Fri, Mar 25, 2011, 08:30

   

It’s the meme which refuses to go away. Every so often, a music business pundit sticks his or her head above the parapet and declares that the death of the album is nigh.

This time, it’s former Warner Music Group tech leader Ethan Kaplan who is predicting the death of the format.

Writing on Hypebot about REM (Kaplan runs the band’s fansite Murmurs), Kaplan predicted that their new album “Collapse Into Now” would be “the last “Album” they will release” and that “2011 is the last year of the Album (capital A).”

Kaplan believes the album has become outdated in what he calls “a post album universe”.

“Some bands might choose to keep the album as an atomic entity (ie Radiohead), but to me it almost seems anachronistic. My view is that bands need to take the concept of an album and move toward the concept of a Release, in the software sense.”

Of course, there are others who will refute this. Speaking during a panel at SXSW, Simon Wheeler from the Beggars Group (the entity behind the XL, Matador, 4AD and Rough Trade labels), said that 60 per cent of the group’s digital income came from digital albums. He also pointed out that it was much harder to get attention for a track as opposed to an album.

Then, there are the artists themselves. Bands still talk in terms of albums. It’s still the goal of every newbie act starting out in a garage to record and release an album.

It may be “anachronistic” to many in the industry looking at revenue projections and bottom lines, but it’s what the artists who create the music in the first place want to do. And maybe we need a reminder that music is still as much about art as it is about commerce.

Sign In

Forgot Password?

Sign Up

The name that will appear beside your comments.

Have an account? Sign In

Forgot Password?

Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In or Sign Up

Thank you

You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.

Hello, .

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

Thank you for registering. Please check your email for the activation code.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 10 days from the date of publication.