Are Albums a Thing of the Past?

Updated: Jun 29

I DIDN'T THINK SO, but ...

Being at an age where I can now freely admit that I have become a Geezer, I am

used to Musicians and Bands releasing their music in the form of an album.


So naturally, I tend to think of my own songs in terms of how well they would fit together with other ones to form an album. But now, after observing the world around me and doing a little research, I now have the sneaking suspicion that this no longer makes any sense.




ALBUMS are DOOMED:

Streaming Service Companies like SPOTIFY are Killing the Album.


Not just Spotify. Amazon Music, Apple Music and other smaller wanna-be's, are all using subtle marketing techniques which include forms of Orwellian New Speak ... designed to erase our desire to buy music.


"What's Trending..." "Play Free"

"Discover New Music" "3 Months of Free Premium"


(Free Premium ?? What does that even mean?)


Through these and other ploys, they are methodically removing the concept of an "Album" from the mind of an entire generation. Not just albums, but any form of music that you can actually Purchase, Own and Take Home with you. The way that they are doing this is complicated, but the reason is simple and obvious, and can be summed up in eight words.


They can only sell you an album once


It's true. Unless you get divorced, dumped by your Significant Other or your car gets stolen, once you have bought music and brought it home, you have the power to make as many copies of it as you want and you can share it with all your friends without giving Big Brother another penny.


With the advent of Music Streaming, you now have to pay them over and over again for the same song. Forever... or until you go deaf from wearing earbuds 24-7 or get killed wandering out into traffic while wearing them, whichever comes first.



So, what is it about albums that is worth saving ?

I don't know about you, but the albums that really stick in my mind are the ones that presented a group of recordings which, when taken as a whole, were most able to successfully develop a single idea or concept. Yet when taken individually, the songs were strong enough to stand alone.


"An album is a sentence and songs are the words that comprise the meaning"


When we buy an album we expect some sort of connection of concept, or common theme among the songs that were included. I think that is an important part of what defines a "Good Album".




Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon is a good example of a “Let’s all get wasted and then lie down and listen to this with the speakers close to our heads…”. type of album.


Obviously a great idea at the time.








Then there were other albums that exemplify the "Let's all get wasted and jump in the car and drive real fast" type of album, like Steppenwolf Live That one really got your motor runnin' ...










So beyond just spreading the word about "getting wasted", the conclusion can be drawn that a Good Album is one where the Artists have used a group of their songs to express a single, larger idea.


But, like one of my run-on sentences ... the challenge in putting together an album is in trying to find a Good way to develop the concept without “beating a dead horse” by writing the same thing over and over ( and over and over and over ).


You have to be careful, with songwriting... It is largely dependent on inspirations that occur unpredictably. Sometimes you think you have a new song idea that you spend a whole day or even longer developing, and then later on you start to get this sinking feeling ... you kind of remember having already written pretty much the same thing ... it was two years ago but you never finished it because you got side tracked.

SO... SPEAKING OF SIDETRACKED

BACK TO THE POINT: The PLAYLIST is the NEW ALBUM


I'm not sure why, but it occurred to me recently that the “Album” as an artistic creation, might be on its last legs. It seems to me that it is being replaced by the “Playlist”, and a playlist is a fluid, living, breathing thing that is reshaped and redefined at the whim of the “Playlist Owners” (aka the record companies).

Same as it ever was …


But, even if you make your own playlist on your own iPod, and you download my album

(or even, God forbid, someone else’s …) that RANDOM play button will totally dissolve the album into its component parts.

For a while in the early days of digital music, successful bands like R.E.M. and Fish started kicking the record companies’ ass and make bunches of money by using their own, well-deserved and hard-earned fame to sell their own music at their own concerts or from their own websites. As a result, music consumers were carrying hundreds or even thousands of songs around in their smartphone or 'iPod”. But apparently, due to diligent marketing efforts by "the record companies" , that has become old fashioned now too.

Now, most of the world has started using streaming "services" like Spotify and others, and now people don’t even have to bother to download songs any more. In fact, as it turns out, they don’t even have to bother to choose the songs they listen to any more. They just pay their $9.99 monthly fee to the song-mongers and then listen to whatever someone picks for them… (sounds a lot like broadcast radio to me. At least that was free)


Any way you look at it, the ALBUM is dead ...



Like the tobacco companies, the answer to their problems was in developing a better way to deliver the addictive substance so that you have to keep paying

STREAMiNG The Innovative "Music Delivery System”


That is what Spotify is. It sprang from the criminally fertile minds of the Music Industry marketing people as a result of the failure of their “COPY PROTECTION” schemes that they tried to implement when music first went digital and they discovered you could effectively CLONE their products and prevent them from Stealing the Profits that their Record Deals had already Stolen from Musicians.


  • Spotify, Apple and Amazon (and others) represent the modern day equivalent of the elusive, “Record Deal”. That golden Pot at the End of the Rainbow that bands sold their souls for. They are the latest way that the music industry has managed to convince unsuspecting creative people to be grateful for the opportunity to be robbed. ( Same as it ever was …)


  • Did you know that there are thriving side industries that have sprung up that feed on musicians’ desire to be heard. They sell musicians the “tools” to “get their music heard by the right people” and “get their songs placed on the best playlists” and supposedly make tons of money.


  • Then, there are the Music Distributors. Another layer between the musician and the money. Spotify doesn’t let a musician put his own music up there for people to stream. NO… You have to pay a music distributor to do it for you. I won’t even bother mentioning how much these vampires charge to smooth talk you into signing away your hard work.


  • Saving the Worst for Last: Once a Spotify artist has paid for a “music distributor”, paid for an artist account and paid $9.95-34.95 to get their song on there, lots and lots of people need to stream that song. In fact, that song would need to be streamed roughly 400,000 times in a month for that artist to get paid the monthly minimum wage.

If you want to use Spotify it will cost you $120 a year for your Premium membership unless you don’t mind listening to advertisements on the Free version.


But Gee... 10 bucks a month is pretty cheap and you get access to 35 million songs!

What that means is that you are paying $10 a month to listen to the songs that 35 million artists paid a minimum of 9.95 to get listed on Spotify (Let’s see… so to acquire their products they received $348,250,000.00 from the supplier?? How do you even calculate Net Profit when your Cost Of Goods Sold is a Negative number?? )

So my point is this…

  1. I’m hoping that you will join me spreading the word about this.

  2. I’m hoping that if you have a Spotify membership, that you will cancel that membership

  3. And I’m hoping that you will spend that same $10/month to support the people who actually create the stuff that you are willing to pay $10 a month for.


“Falling In Love Again” is the 2nd Bobby Faria Band “Album”, and quite possibly it will be the last… I’m seriously considering not bothering to construct any more albums in the future.





Don’t get your hopes up… I’m not taking my ball and going home.


I’ll still be releasing music, but instead of albums like this, I’ll be releasing Good Old Fashioned Singles with 2 songs for the price of 1.





To say Thank You for reading my Food and Music Blog... Here's a Full Length FREEview of the title track. The album will be out Tuesday June 30th.





Until the Next Time ... So Long from Bob's Diner

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