General Question

monolisa's avatar

What will happen to the music "album"?

Asked by monolisa (23points) May 14th, 2008

As far as we know, the CD, as a medium, that sets the standard for the work of a musician is going to disappear. We can find reasons in the web2.0 culture and possibilities. Does this mean, that there will be no “album” in the future as an artwork with a central theme?

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15 Answers

willbrawn's avatar

I dont believe there will be album art work. Most teens that I know buy there music online. And even if they buy a cd they copy it to there computer and file the cd in the collection. I honestly can’t remember the last night I looked at album art.

willbrawn's avatar

a think a good question to go along with this. With the trend of music today, in the future will you have to still go through a record label? Or can you making your own cd be enough with the way the Internet is moving.

elchoopanebre's avatar

I think there probably will not be an album as we know it in the future. To me, this sucks. I like albums and the idea of a musician/band crafting a coherent work which fits together as a whole (with artwork, lyrics and everything) rather than an ‘album’ with a couple radio-worthy singles amid many filler songs.

wildflower's avatar

The concept of albums has survived a few transitions already. Going forward, I think albums where the only tie-in is the release date and the artwork is just an eyecatcher, will be a thing of the past, but I suspect there will still be artists who will take the album-esque conceptual approach to creating and presenting their music. Whether it’ll be referred to as an album, we’ll have to wait and see.

peedub's avatar

The album will persist. Mainstream music “lovers” aren’t the only listeners/purchasers out there. Many musicians prefer the album format, as it is about the compilation of songs and the juxtaposition of them that comprises their piece of art.

Look at vinyl, for example. There’s somewhat of a large resurgence happening here, even with the extremely high production costs

reed's avatar

The album is a marketing/packaging contrivance used by the record industry which has served them well. It will probably be around awhile since it is more profitable than selling singles wherein the record companies can package up marginal songs from an artist along with big hits and generate more revenue. Personally I haven’t bought an album in years since most artists have some clunkers on them that I don’t want. As a musician myself, I am guilty of adding marginal songs to an album to fill it up and satisfy the label.

nocountry2's avatar

I am guilty, too, of not wanting to buy an entire album due to the “clunkers” that I won’t listen to – but I think it’s hard to give up the album art, which seems to help a band solidify a particular image or artistic message they’re trying to convey…even now, when I think of certain albums (Ween, Radiohead) I can’t help but remember the visual imagery associated with it.

sinscriven's avatar

Some people are visual, and having album art or CD art is pretty important to them.

Sure I have an iPod to play my music in my car, but when I take out the giant CD wallet, it’s like I discovered a treasure trove, even if it’s all music i have in my iPod, it’s just a great visual and sensory experience which is better than scrolling down a playlist.

marinelife's avatar

OK, point taken about the clunkers, but there are some albums that I think were iconic as a body of music and not just for their art. Some examples? The first Doors album (called The Doors), Led Zeppelin IV, Bridge Over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel), Surrealistic Pillow (Jefferson Airplane). There are lots of others I can think of too.

In 1991, I was driving to the office Christmas Party and contemplating my upcoming birthday with some dismay when Stairway to Heaven came on and the DJ commented that it was the 20th anniversary of the song’s release. I got to the party and people were chatting. I said I was feeling old with the birthday coming up and mentioned that it was the 20th anniversary of the release of Stairway to Heaven and that I had bought the original album when it came out. Quick as a whip, one of my twenty-something employees quipped with a straight face, “What’s an album?”

There is some comfort in knowing they are at least still being discussed more than fifteen years later.

DeezerQueue's avatar

Who could forget the Rolling Stones’ Sticky Fingers albums?

I had read an article not long ago, maybe on Rolling Stone, that addressed how the quality and range of music is being replaced by simple loudness. After listening to the difference between what an album sounds like and its compressed digital form, I was amazed, to say the least. We are trading real quality for convenience. Why not have a happy blend of both?

I think if the youth could trade in some of their neurotic game playing habits for an evening with friends, perusing real covers with real lyrics they might find out that what they have today isn’t better than what we had then.

BirdlegLeft's avatar

I don’t think the abum as “art form” is going away quite yet either. I can point to three, well done albums that I downloaded to my phone in the last month as a good argument. I think the poor showing in albums on general can be blamed on the idustry and artists alike. Personally, I think the music industry has been a flat-footed monster the last 20 years. I don’t feel bad for them failing miserably. I expect we’ll see some new business models from the survivors though.

steelmarket's avatar

Albums will re-emerge in the future as a similar art form, in that artists will create clusters of songs, related together with music, sounds, images, videos, stories, bios, VR who-knows-what, etc. The art form of the album just has not reached its next evolution. The closest thing that we have seen is perhaps the rock opera.
The days of just writing a few tunes, slapping them together into one consumer package (LP, CD, whatever), and telling the consumer that they have to buy the whole thing are hopefully gone.

TrenchMouth's avatar

I think the album will get better when musicians realize they can’t make it longer with filler. Or they might just get shorter. If NIN is any indication, they might become more experimental and performance driven as opposed to the media extravaganzas they have been in the past.
For the foreseeable future I think there will be room for the format that was dominant in the 90’s and whatever is developing now. I think it will be a while before we see a full transition to a completely new model of album creation and distribution.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

god, i really really hope that physical forms of music won’t disappear. i’m one of the few people my age that absolutely hates buying/downloading/whatever mp3s without having the CD or vinyl or something to go with it.

phoenixero's avatar

can it really be called art now a days anyway? Think. The main source of CD revenue is directed toward rap ( at least from what i can tell. most rock metal ect listeners rip stuff offline for free, and the only collections of cds i see now a days are old or rap) Have you ever looked at rap “Album art”? its not really art at all, more just a glorified picture…

or so, thats my take

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