ManageMental Episode 83: Is The Album Dead?

Hypebot article "Proof the Album is Almost Dead" by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Listener Joe writes: "I know you guys have touched upon releasing music in 2018, specifically the relevance of the album versus EPs or even singles. I wondered if you guys could dig into this a bit more. As an independent metal artist who is getting ready to release new music in 2019, we've had several discussions in our camp about the appropriate way to do this, which has clearly changed since our last release. The metal and hard rock audience does seem to hold dear its albums and it doesn't seem to me that this will ever completely go away. However, considering how most people are consuming music now, it almost seems like a waste to release an album in which several songs will immediately get lost in space upon release. Currently, we're thinking of releasing an EP, in which we first release each song individually every few weeks before the official release. We know that having CDs, vinyl, and a full EP/album digital release still holds value for part of our demographic and we feel we need to have this available. I'd be interested to hear your take on what you would recommend for a smaller metal artist and on where you think this is headed in the next 5 years or so. 

Thank you so much! Your show holds immense value for me, my band, and other developing artists! I spread the word of your show to other buddy developing artists whenever I get the chance.

Thank you, thank you

Now if you think that anyone in the recorded music industry is lamenting this fact, you’re wrong. The business is in what many consider to be a boom period with double digit growth, and it’s all coming from streaming. In case you haven’t noticed, streaming is all about the song and not the album.

Will the album go away as a result? No, it’s still a way to compile a set of songs together that can be useful to the artist and label, plus there are some people that still buy CDs or vinyl. But you’re going to see less emphasis on it in the future, with songs being released as they’re finished instead of waiting for the whole lot to be completed for the album.

And this is actually healthy for the industry. Get the songs out fast, give each one maximum exposure instead of being diluted in an album package, and promote them on their merits, just like back in the 50s.