How Dead Is The Album?
How can an art form that is a primary currency for all music be considered over? That load the market place with 100s of new releases a week and where there has never been more, how can it be dead? It died because of streaming. There are no longer any parameters to an album and because there aren’t what an album means has become movable. It is like saying if people suddenly ad three heads, they are still human but the difference is too distinct. It feels like an album and smells like an album, but it isn’t really an album… Two hours of original material suggest that what is happening is less an art form than a commercial prospect in place due to the number fudging of streaming… so that people listen to more songs and moves the needle.
But how do artists do two hour albums? One of the greatest albums of all time, by an improvisational guitar genius, Are You Experienced? is a lengthy 40 minutes, Drake’s Scorpion is 90 minutes on the head. How is that possible?
1 – Rap, it is easier to record rhymes over beats than guitar rock , and sure a perfectionist like Kanye West may spend months on an album, sometimes on a track (the image that remains is Kanye West on his lap top on a private jet doing last minute tweaks to Teyana Taylor’s album six hours after it was meant to be released), the rule of thumb is albums by committees in factories, pounding em out, it is Max Martin factories with dozens of employees churning out samples for rap stars.
2 – The hard copy – mixtapes have none, so the length of the album for CDs or even vinyl is irrelevant.
3 – Gaming streams – Sales may be all smoke and mirrors, but that doesn’t mean there doesn’t have to be winners and losers, if additional streams by additional songs means anything at all, it means longer albums.
Put the three together, the art form that lends itself to indulgence, the ease of distribution, and gaming the system, and guess what? The album as an art form teeters and dies. And any looking at the Billboard 200 will show you just how volatile it is.Judging artists by their by albums is like judging basketball players by their haircuts,