Is the album dead and why vinyl is great…
In the digital age, almost everyone streams or downloads, or does both. In this same age, vinyl is completely back. Two things that seem totally different and almost can’t go together, are happening next to each other.
The behaviour of the streaming and downloading person is quite clear: only the hits are played and downloaded, and other songs get only a few seconds to proove they are good. That’s the time someone listens to another song, so if the intro is not good, the song is skipped. That made me think: would the album actually die in the coming years? There seems no reason to make all those other tracks, since only a small group is there to listen to them. And let’s be honest: not a lot of people actually speak their mind on these album tracks. Therefore, it would almost seem logical to make songs that can become hits and not albums, because that would only cost a lot of money.
Luckily, there is hope for the album. The group that is buying vinyl records is growing steadily. Vinyl is back and big business! And it has one positive side: it’s very difficult to skip a song without damaging either the record or the needle, both are not recommended. This group consists of people who want quality for their money and also feel playing music is something special.
Albums are something great: they show what an artist can do more than just in the hits. Take for example Genesis. The hits are all short, but the longer songs on their albums are also great. Autobahn from Kraftwerk (if you ever hear it) is cut to four minutes, while the full album track is a true ride from more than 22 minutes.
But let’s also not forget artists are trying to tell us a story with their songs. Some albums are merily a collection of songs, but the concept album needs all the songs (hits and album tracks) to tell the full story. The Wall from Pink Floyd is just a great example. Take the songs apart and they tell a nice story, but together they form a powerful work.
Back to the start: is there a future for the album? Probably, though the public might change to a narrower public of people who want to hear more from artists. At least there is the hope that artists just want to create a complete work with a full story, and the only thing they need is a complete album.
So what is your view? Is the album dead or more alive than ever?