Is The Album Dead – Duggystone Radio asks
Written by kirk on June 30, 2020
Is The Album Dead ?, it’s an interesting question for us at Duggystone Radio, we’ve seen some changes recently that need to be investigated futher
Its interesting times we live in Musically, there will always be those that will buy albums, buy records in physical formate so lets get that out of the way straight away.
However as technology moved along at a faster and faster rate, so has music and therefore consumption, music is more accessible on the move making streaming services the go to for music (we assume)
We will look at some data as well, as this topic came up after watching what is happening in the industry and also after interviewing more and more bands, the younger new bands are the future of music and so are their fans, so we should take note of what’s happening on the ground as it where.
So Data we love Data don’t we
So what does the Graph tell us, well a number of things,
1. The transition from the late 70s where music sales were around $16bn with the sales of tapes overtaking record sales
2. By the 2000’s we see the CD taking centre stage pushing sales up to $20bn with a small tape sales and hardly a flicker of vinyl sales
3. By 2018 we see the impact of streaming services like Apple Music, Amazon and Spotify with streaming and MP3 being the major source of music consumption
4. The amount of money generated has plummeted from $20bn to $8bn in sales – This affects the music industry as the record companies not generating physical sales. Moreover artist, in turn, get very little from streaming around $0.0048 per stream
to put that last point in context Spotify paying about $0.00437 per stream. That isn’t a lot of money for most of the artists with music on Spotify, because 10,000 plays only pays $43.70. However, a song that gets 10m streams will earn $43,700, and big hits can earn a lot.
(lets also not forget those numbers in real terms from the 70s with inflation means that $8bn now is not the same as that figure in 1978)
A bit about the platforms
The Above Graph show the Vinyl (long play and extended play) from 1973 to 2015, it makes sense that before the emergence of the CD and tape players Vinyl was really the only place to grab your bands music, or wait for it to come on a radio show.
There has been a bit of a really from 2015 where people have found a new love for the format, especially with Dj for mixing . Even so its going to take a lot of converts to get back to millions of dollars of sales at its peak.
For people of a certain age Music Tapes were a revolution, you prob made mixtapes for your car that’s if you were lucky enough for it to even have a tape deck and not just an FM radio “yeah no DAB I know bonkers”, also a couple that with the advent of the Walman back in 1979 and saw the early 80s most teenagers had the tiny device and set of headphones, it was the first time you could be in control of what you personally wanted to hear, albeit skipping tracks was not that simple.
The Cd or Compact Disc
The first commercial CD was on sale in 1982 and it was a futuristic revolution, it meant you could have a higher quality rendering of your music and more mon a CD, the other advantage was the ability to skip tracks or randomise the order of play. One issue with cd with early players they could jump due to vibration or rapid movement, as the disc would move meaning the laser was moved off the point it was at. Car stereo CD players started to be seen in 1984 but most people were still using tapes or Fm radio.
Streaming – The times are a-changing
The development of the iPod was the start of the music revolution from physical to digital, now you could have a whole jukebox in your pocket and not just one album, apple also introduced the concept of downloading individual MP3 and not only just full albums. This technology began the trend we now see to day.
Further developments in streaming services such as Spotify combined with smartphones and smart speakers, means you no longer just have a jukebox in your pocket but virtually any track you can think of.
These developments have changed the way we consume music and how artist now produce music.
The whole landscape has changed, where at one time a band would tour to sell Albums, they release music to sell tours “That’s Now Where The Money Is”.
We live in a world of no-stop music, music is being released at an exponential rate, some stats from 2018 According to Hypebot.com, a thousand songs are uploaded to Spotify, Apple, Google Music, Napster, Dezzer, and the other streamers every hour.
That’s 24,000 songs every day and 1 million tracks every six weeks
So the market is saturated no more do you need a record deal with one of the big companies that would contract bands to release a number of albums over a specific period.
Music consumption has gone from being restrictive and driven by the record companies and consumption from grabbing the latest album from your fav artist either once a year or every couple of year, you sit down and listen to the whole thing!.
People now don’t either have the time or patience for that and much prefer to have a playlist of various music genres or artist and will quickly flick between tracks to find what grabs them (generally this is the case), combine this a saturated market a band or artist needs to be in the consciousness of the end user.
So releasing a 16 track album gives you an initial hit or “here is the latest from (insert group)” then its quickly forgotten.
Emerging artists and established stars are reacting to this by releasing single tracks with the occasional EP (around 3-5 tracks) that way followers on streaming platforms get a notification of new releases, so in the consciousness.
we’ve interviewed a few bands recently who all confirm this trend, platforms like Tictok and Instagram where post time is restricted to max 1m have seen some artist releasing 1minute tracks!
So is the Album dead, well not just yet but it feels like its the reserve for those that skill either have a massive following or recording deals? It’s a floundering concept that will still be relevant to some as vinyl is but in popular culture terms we predict few and few Albums of 10 tracks or more will be produced.
as we’ve seen the moved from each platform we’ve seen control shift to the consumer, available funds reduce and the need to look at new ways of engaging and staying relevant.
Having said all of the above Music continues to be a place people turn to for entertainment, making memories and evoking emotion
live gigs are still an amazing experience to see you’re fav or new artists its why we love our jobs at Duggystone Radio,we like to think we curate a broad range of music for all taste and sign post you to discover new bands for your playlist when your not tuned in
thanks for reading and we would love feedback or thoughts on “Is the album dead”.
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