iTunes Killed the Album

Nobody wants to hear a full CD.

OK, maybe that’s a little excessive, but let’s put some thought into it…

When was the last time you stopped and listened to an album in its entirety? For me, it hasn’t been that long; I dig hearing an artist’s entire thought process. But I fear that I might be in the minority these days.

iTunes has taken over music. They sell singles at less than a buck. They give away free singles every week. Even when people do get a full CD from , they usually just listen to the songs they’re interested in. That’s not to say that actual, physical CDs are unnecessary. Far from it. You can’t make any money at a live show without a CD to sell.

But let’s say somebody does buy your . They are likely gonna listen to it once, then rip the songs they like to their computer, , or whatever medium they choose.

That having been said, maybe it’s time to spend more energy focusing on singles rather than entire albums, especially if you are an indie artist.

There’s a good article about all this over at the Lefsetz Letter (be warned: he does use a few “choice” words, so if you are offended by that, be careful).

What can your music career learn from this? Maybe there is more potential for a single to gain exposure (and earn income) for an artist if it is marketed properly than if all the promotional money and effort were spent on an entire album. From my own personal experience, Boochie Shepherd has sold far fewer full CDs on iTunes than we have copies of the current single, “Vertical.” Seriously, it’s probably a 10:1 ratio in favor of the single.

And a single on its own can propel an artist to stardom. Remember when Lisa Loeb’s “Stay” hit #1 before she even had the album to support it? She simply got it placed onto the right soundtrack and then woke up one day with the most popular song on the planet. I think I love her, by the way…

So, let’s brainstorm and think about ways to make this concept work for us as indies, shall we?


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~ by fatkidrecords on July 13, 2007.

One Response to “iTunes Killed the Album”

  1. Agreed. Music as a whole is changing and keeping up with the scene is something that the “major label machine” has blinded us from. It’s easy to fall into the monotonous trap of believing that there is only one way to skin the music industry cat. I.e.: make an album, promote the album with a concert, sell the album with the momentum.

    But I think there could be a whole new world out there for indies if they’re willing to put a little creative effort and thought into it. We coud potentially market ourselves in a whole new way (which I believe we are doing so now in baby steps), so much so that we gain the attention of the big industry giants. This is already happening in that radio is not the end all be all as it once was. Now with Internet radio, that whole market is changing. It’s also true because of iTunes. Yes, it may have killed the “album” per se, but it opened up a world where The Hero Factor can sell their music right next to Kelly Clarkson; Forever the Sickest Kids next to Jay-Z and so on. It’s an equal playing field (if you do the marketing work) and that’s what’s changing the industry as a whole.

    I, for one, am stoked about it.

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