Are albums losing their clout as musicians prefer singles instead?
It was the iPod Classic (sadly now defunct, #RIPiPodClassic) that began my obsession of listening to albums in their entirety. Thanks to the device’s tab categorization, I was able to appreciate whatever concept the musician was attempting to convey with that particular full-length album project.
Traditionally, single serve as teasers to promote the upcoming album release. Elias Leight of Rolling Stone points out that “the old album rollout model usually consisted of one single in the months leading up to an album and a second to coincide with the LP’s release”.
Now, singles dominate digital music platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify. Why? Because by releasing multiple singles, artist and their record labels can maintain a constant mainstream presence in the increasingly teeming music sphere.
“People don’t really listen to albums as whole anymore. It’s like a diary of your year and each song is like a chapter of your diary. It’s interesting for me to witness the concepts created for the album and stepping back afterwards to hear how the songs gel alongside each other as intended,” says Josephine Vander Guch of British alternative synth-pop duo Oh Wonder.
Most of the productions by rising lo-fi hip-hop musician Keshi are either singles or in EP format, but he says: “It’s always been my goal to release an entire album. [The album] will be very important to me as you have to commit so much time to it. But an album has the potential to last for a very long time if done properly. It gives you an out-of-body experience if you listen to the entire thing.”
Another plus point is that you get to loop about 10 to 12 songs made by your favourite artists and get to know more about their creative progression. Also, non-single tracks allow listeners to broaden their music tastes if the album isn’t confined to a singular genre.