the end of the album? uh.

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the end of the album? uh.

Postby meg » Sat Aug 30, 2003 9:48 am

http://www.mtv.com/bands/a/albums_news_feature_081903/?pollstat=r

Gideon Yago thinks the solution to the music world's problems is ending the creation of The Album.

Wow, Gideon Yago of MTV News. Wow.

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Postby Midori » Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:44 pm

I don't think the key is abolishing albums, I think the best idea would be to come out with really killer enhancements on CDs or something free in the liner notes. If there were something on the CD or in there with it that was worth seeing or having, more people would buy the CDs. I mean, they do it already sometimes, they should just do it better.

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Postby LoveSickJerk » Sat Aug 30, 2003 7:30 pm

I agree withYago's point. I gripe and cringe everytime i remember i paid 13.99 for Weezer Green 10 songs, 28 minutes. if it was 6 bucks id be happy cause then i wouldnt mind River's lack of soul as much (but that's another story). I think enhancements are just what alan cooper calls "dancing bears" Features we don't need that make a product more desirable. Why the hell do i need a toaster in the same appiance as my microwave? Why do i need 15 (on average) songs when 5 to seven are really what i wanted to hear? And why do i have to be subjected to pay for it? Enhancements just distract from the true reason we all buy cds, and that's for the music.

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Postby Karousme » Sat Aug 30, 2003 10:15 pm

He is on to something. I have always thought that this whole MP3 revoloution would lead to better albums. I remember back in the early 90s before mp3s, I had friends (me too, I suppose) who would buy an album based on one song they heard on MTV. Fifteen bucks later they were left with a hit track and a bunch of other mediocre songs. A few months later, the CD is being used as a beer coaster.

It would be sad to see the album die, however. True albums, that is.

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Postby John » Sun Aug 31, 2003 8:32 am

It seems like the listener is the dying breed. Enjoying an album as a whole work takes concentration. It used to be that AM radio music was singles-based, and FM radio played the deep cuts and album sides, and you would think that indie rock audiences were the spiritual inheritors of the FM radio consciousness, but every week there's a new review of the Long Winters records where the writer is clearly just trolling for 'hits' and complains about all the 'boring' tracks. If indie rock audiences aren't the ones for whom albums are made, then for whom?

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Postby LoveSickJerk » Sun Aug 31, 2003 9:02 am

I see your point John, and i realized as i wrote to Yago's defense, that loving Albums is what i've always done, and i felt kinda dirty. Then i realized that the indie rock albums i do own, i digested, and made my own through repeated listening, i did my job and will continue to do so. But popular music is what Yago seems to be addressing directly, not the indie crowd. I doubt that changes in the Major Label's production would completely change indie production. If the ML's are just in it for the business, i beleive they will need to adjust to a Yagoish perspective. But if indie rock is in it for the listener, there isn't much to worry about.

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Postby Midori » Sun Aug 31, 2003 12:01 pm

LoveSickJerk wrote:I think enhancements are just what alan cooper calls "dancing bears" Features we don't need that make a product more desirable.


I'm just saying this would be the easiest way for the music industry to lure back consumers. While shorter albums and all would overall be better for the people buying (especially the true fans), it's unlikely that the entire industry is going to change it's whole marketing strategy any time soon. It seems obvious that with these lawsuits the companies are interested only in money and I think the quickest way to make money would be to make the products more immediately desirable. It's the same logic as re-realeasing a DVD as a "special edition" so that even the people who already own the original will buy it again to just get the extras. It's annoying, but it'll get people buying and it's a whole hell of a lot better than a fat $150,000 lawsuit.

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Postby Liesbeth » Sun Aug 31, 2003 12:14 pm

I seriously doubt that abolishing albums is going to rescue the music industry. It might be that a whole album is beyond the attention span of many (young) people nowadays. But that might also be blamed to the amount of long albums that have emerged with the cd: a vinyl album had a max length of 45, 50 minutes tops, and some bands or their record companies just can't resist using the 60-70 minutes a cd allows.

I think a serious problem that comes with the whole download thing, is that a great many people just think that if it's available for free, then it would be plain stupid to spend money on it. This is not a matter of wanting value for money, but taking what's for grabs. In case of a real-life shop, it would be called shoplifting or looting, but in this case 'because everybody does it' and 'because all the big music companies suck' it seems to be okay.
I'm amazed at how widespread this form of egoism is. I even know someone who's in a band and himself only downloads music; when asked if he would mind if we didn't buy his album then, he said that that was a different thing... yeah, right!

Personally, although I still love to buy albums, I turn to E-music a lot nowadays. To check out music to see if I like it enough to buy it, or to get to know older music and musical styles that otherwise I wouldn't get to know. Personally, I like knowing that the artists will get a share, thus enabling them to make more of that music that I like.

I do think the Internet will be used more and more for distributing music, be it as individual songs or albums or a new form of smaller packages.
But it will take a big change in attitude from the downloaders to get them to pay again for any form of music they can illegally get free of charge.

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Postby meg » Sun Aug 31, 2003 12:55 pm

What bugs me about Yago's argument is here: Stop making albums. They cost too much and they aren't worth the price tag. -- is that a fact? I guess it is. I guess current popular albums probably do cost more than they're worth--look, if the public's sick of seeing shit get blown up, stop making shit blow up and start working on the neo-teen-horror trend again. Or why not try to make albums that ARE worth the price tag? What if they were worth what was paid for them? In order to recoup that money, record labels tack on a dozen filler tracks that nobody wants to hear and sells it as an album. That's the problem--that's true and people know it. but the solution is not to stop making albums! The solution is to stop making SHITTY albums.

See. So EASY.

Here's what was smart: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs coasted for, what a year and a half? based on an EP. If a lady heard something about them and wanted to check the hype, she knew she wasn't overpaying. Then if she liked it, she waited for the album, which she knew was coming. Here's what's been smart--pricing artists-albums labels want to push at $8. The labels need to sell a product the people will pay for, and that means they've got to take what is great about the album and abbreviate it. Not really. The labels need to sell a product the people will pay for, and that means they've got to take what is great about the band and work with it. That does not mean dipping Liz Phair in polyurathane. That does not mean ditching Nada Surf because one or two guys really can't pick one song out of the mix that's gonna appeal to Joe College Student. I think it may be true that with the diversity of current popular music, there may be Album Bands and there may be Single Bands.

It's an awful, fragmented industry, and I'd say it deserves what it gets except that what it deserves is what we're getting.

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Postby i love my car » Sun Aug 31, 2003 4:48 pm

It makes no sense to say 'get rid of the album,' because what would be done with all existing albums? Well, they would still exist. All this would result in would be higher prices for collectors wishing to obtain still-existant albums.
Also, getting rid of the album is just another way for the music business to get more money. A typical EP is 3 - 5 songs, and can run as high as $10. If someone wanted a worthwhile amount of music by a certain band they liked (say, an album's worth), they would have to pay more money as a total than for the original album.
What the real problem is, is that CDs are so expensive not only because business is down, etc., but because CDs have no competition. Few people buy new vinyl, because most new vinyl is expensive due to lack of purchase (recently, vinyl albums have become available for a great deal less - Hot Hot Heat's vinyl album is $10.99, approximately equal to their CDs cost). Tapes are thought of as extinct for the most part. In order to bring the price down, the music industry needs a new way of playing music, a next generation. After all, CDs are twenty years old.

As a bit of a sidenote, does anyone think DVDs are the 8-track tapes of today?

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Postby trashcan_afterthought » Sun Aug 31, 2003 6:03 pm

kill internet. problem solved. :-)

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Postby LoveSickJerk » Sun Aug 31, 2003 7:24 pm

Midori wrote:I'm just saying ... $150,000 lawsuit.


Still packages as such only hold a certain collectability for a short while. It's not supporting, its just propping it up for just that much longer. A perfect example of such gimmick-y selling is in the Comic Book Industry about 10 years ago. Back in the day, Comic publishers focused on the collectability of the comics and not the actual stories or characters, resulting in a glut of complete crap with shiny covers, special paper and more hyperbole on those said covers than you can shake a stick at. Needless to say the industry imploded, a couple publishers folded, and marvel eventually had to file for reorganization bankrupcy (did that sound like a country song for a minute?) It is not impossible to forsee such crap happening in the larger scale of Major Labels. Perhaps not to the same degree, it just has to deal with saturation, and economics. You have to be more adaptable then they are being right now to survive.

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Postby aurel » Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:50 am

hello there, new here. anyway,
an album is a whole, at least the albums I listen to. the problem, in my opinion, remains the same: the music industry doesn't aim at putting good music out or promoting good bands. As any industry, it aims at selling. The problem is that what works on MTV and such doesn't match my definition of an artist, or music.
Then okay, prevent those people from making albums and capitalize only one singles. But it musn't impact on the whole music industry.
When the majors claim that producing an album is an expensive process, and that they expect it to pay back, they're right. But they should behave accordingly.
A perfect example of this hipocrisy is for me Nada Surf's "The Proximity Effect". Well, Nada Surf had done well on MTV and all with Popular, and when they submitted their second album to Elektra, their A&R told them there wasn't any single on this record, and they refused to put it out, after much talking, the recording of covers, the suggesting by Elektra, refused by Nada Surf, to put an acoustic version of Popular on it (duh...it reminds me of a song about a sunny island which is on 2 albums by I band I used to like, until this). Anyway, "The Proximity Effect" was released in Europe and did well, and Nada Surf did a successful 28-shows tour in France, and eventually quit Elektra and fought to get the rights over the record.
Anyway, my point is that Elektra, as a major, and there are many examples of such processes, wasted money, they wasted talent, and they nearly put an end to a talented band, and now that the sales are sagging the use the argument of the costs...

Sorry, I might have disgressed, but I still hold a grudge against some majors.

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Postby grant » Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:45 am

Until the invention of the LP (or Long-Playing) record (in 1947), music was typically released as singles on 78 rpm discs.

These, in turn, were collected by placing them in paper sleeves in large binders -- an actual album, like the ones we still use to collect photographs. A record company might release an album's worth of records all at once, but in common usage, each album was filled one sleeve at a time by the phonographic enthusiast who owned it.

Image


In other words, the "album" as currently conceived is not a necessary or natural part of the way music is packaged and consumed. It came about due to the capacity of technology. With more people using mp3 players capable of storing not 45 or 60 minutes of music, but 45 or 60 *hours* of music, the way music is consumed will change.

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Postby omphale » Wed Sep 10, 2003 9:33 am

cool! i'm so glad grant is here to tell us all these neat-o little factoids that i, for one, would never otherwise become aware of.

go grant go!

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Postby John » Wed Sep 10, 2003 10:58 am

Both Long Winters 'records' have too much music on them to fit on a conventional, vinyl LP. Barsuk has never released them on vinyl because of the extra expense- they would have to be double albums. My suggestion was that they release the records as 'albums', in the sense that Grant is talking about, of 7-inches. Barsuk only laughed.

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Postby grant » Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:07 pm

I'm actually rather glad to own the Sixths' first album, Wasps Nests, in that format. It's lovely packaging, and it makes it fun to select songs as I want to hear them. Pity it's (apparently) too expensive for the label. I imagine it doesn't make efficient use of resources.

What I'd love is if a band released a single on a 3.5 floppy disk. Do you reckon that's happened yet?

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Postby meg » Wed Sep 10, 2003 2:31 pm

grant wrote:What I'd love is if a band released a single on a 3.5 floppy disk. Do you reckon that's happened yet?


I don't know about that, but I have an Enon instrumental (show-only) CD that lives inside a cut-and-gutted 5.25" floppy. Looks keen.

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Postby eric! » Wed Sep 10, 2003 6:32 pm

i'm not sure where the statistics are, but the new apple iTunes Music Store apparently sells something like 57% of their songs in album form.


the album isn't really dead. it's just that people don't want to buy filler.

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Postby miss michaela dee » Wed Sep 24, 2003 1:34 pm

John wrote:Both Long Winters 'records' have too much music on them to fit on a conventional, vinyl LP. Barsuk has never released them on vinyl because of the extra expense- they would have to be double albums. My suggestion was that they release the records as 'albums', in the sense that Grant is talking about, of 7-inches. Barsuk only laughed.


damn, that would've been brilliant, i adore the album-on-7-inch-records concept. a few people have done that in recent memory -- cub, the first garbage album, a smithereens album, i think -- and also one from less than jake? oh! and that carpenters tribute a few years back, but that might have just been a promo item. hell, i'd pay extra to have both TLW albums that way, but it's probably just me.

(and, grant! do you know if one can still get <i>wasps nests</i> in that format? that's one i wasn't aware of.)


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