Dark side of the tunes: Is digital killing the full album experience?

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Comments

  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited July 2009
    in B4...

    oh hell, all of it.
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit
    edited July 2009
    Err, I'm 26 and only buy full albums on iTunes. There, I said it.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited July 2009
    24 and I only buy full albums.

    Then again, it's not usually contemporary music. Part of it you hit on the head - many artists just don't make albums that are meant to be consumed in total. A lot of them are just 10 sketchy songs with hopefully 3 radio hits, no front-to-back experience. Some still do - but many just don't inspire an hour's dedication.
  • edited July 2009
    You may as well just have said first prime.

    Now then, if there's music that's worth the full album experience, I gladly buy the full album. Fact of the matter is most mainstream record labels don't produce albums that are worth having the full experience (cuz half the music on the album sucks). Of course, that said, there are artists that put out albums worth the full experience and even if I buy them in digital form I will sit down and enjoy the full experience... Green Day's latest 2 albums fall into that category as do The Smashing Pumpkins and many others. I hope Billy Corgan reconsiders his position because I do enjoy the experience of listening to a well balanced full album. For the real full album experience though, I've gotta find it in vinyl, sit on the floor between my two homebuilt speakers and listen to it played on a turntable though.
  • racerace Tejas
    edited July 2009
    Ahhhhh! This grrrl does NOT by singles. Crap, crap, crap. The good stuff is in between. If there are lots of people out there who just want the radio-friendly version, good for them. I'm glad they can get it for cheaper now. ***I will pay you money to put out full albums! I will come see your shows!***
  • KwitkoKwitko Sheriff of Banning (Retired) By the thing near the stuff
    edited July 2009
    36 and I buy full albums on vinyl. And iTunes.

    And I agree with Cliff, Snark, prime- today's artists are being churned out without regard to quality. It's a quick hit, one single, then on to the next band.
  • Nate_LapTNate_LapT Ferndale MI.
    edited July 2009
    im 26 and I dont buy via iTunes, I still buy the LP!!! I love my sublime and nirvana lp's
    I have roughly 20LP's sitting in my vinyl travel case at my parents, I need to get my turntable moved here so I can enjoy those again. I have a 311 45 also. lots of bands are releasing on vinyl still. more aimed at the TRUE music lovers.
  • GnomeWizarddGnomeWizardd Member 4 Life Akron, PA
    edited July 2009
    26 and buy full albums but not on Itunes
  • edited July 2009
    Also, this article has inspired me to listen to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness now. In order. The way it should be.
  • _k_k P-Town, Texas
    edited July 2009
    22 and I bought a CD in a store last week, listen to it during l4d and driving to work. Rehab- Graffiti The World. They still have a large business making records, you know real turntable records. I don't consider someone a DJ until they bust out something on the tables, otherwise you are a jukebox.
  • MarushkaMarushka cambridge, ma
    edited July 2009
    I had a similar discussion with a friend much older than I (75) a few months ago and he raised an interesting alternative point. The album, at a time, was a very new concept to the music scene (he cited Sgt Pepper). It changed music, no doubt, and gave artists a new canvas to display their depth and skill. In terms of the digital media and iTunes generation, he saw a lot of the positives and viewed it as a similar shift in music as an art form. If the album was going the way of extinction as a consequence, then that's unfortunate, but still a side effect.

    I thought his argument was interesting.

    Personally, I mostly listen to classic rock. Im 25 so I really only access the stuff that survived the test of time - and they were some pretty amazing albums. For artists of today that are capable of the same, hopefully they will find a new venue to showcase those skills (maybe focused in live concerts).
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited July 2009
    I'm 23 and the only complete albums I own are Dark Side of the Moon and Enigma's The Dusted Variations (I just checked).

    Complete albums generally waste three things: My time, my money and my drive space. I cherry-pick what I like and move on; whether or not that means singles is up to the artist's alignments with my taste in music.

    Don't mistake what I'm saying: If I find a great track, you bet I'll give the rest of the album a listen, but to date I remain completely unconvinced by more than a small handful of artists.

    I won't pay the list price if every dollar isn't well-spent, and that goes for everything in my life, not just albums.

    //edit: The value of the album experience is overstated when you couldn't care less if half the tracks on the album were never made.
  • Gate28Gate28 Orlando, Florida
    edited July 2009
    I'm 17 and I go to the mall and buy physical CD's. Hell, if I had a working needle for my turntable, I'd buy records, too.

    I also think is ironic that first album that caught my eye in the picture is AEnima by Tool, which is in the CD player in my car right now.

    While I must admit I'm a big Smashing Pumpkins fan, I have to disagree with Billy on this one. Releasing only singles destroys the idea of the concept album or the rock opera. Look at Tommy by The Who or The Wall by Pink Floyd or even some newer stuff, like Broken Bride by Ludo or Lateralus by Tool. All of these albums have a central theme or story that ties all the songs together. If you just disregard the whole idea behind an album, then your not letting the artist tell his whole story.
  • edited July 2009
    I buy almost exclusively digital music and buy full albums. I wouldn't buy a print of just Mona Lisa's eyes or just the first 20 minutes of Full Metal Jacket.
  • edited July 2009
    Also, I don't use iTunes. Is there any incentive to buy a full album on iTunes? I buy from Lala, where albums are often up to 50% cheaper than buying all the tracks individually.
  • edited July 2009
    Too bad most artists these days are less da Vinci and more Rabo Karabekian (I know he's fictional, but I love Vonnegut) otherwise I would be more inclined to buy full albums more often.
  • ThraxThrax Professional Shill, Watch Slut, Mumble Hivemind Drone Austin, TX
    edited July 2009
    ^ Ding.
  • edited July 2009
    I'm not denying that the vast majority of available music is dross, but I can honestly say that most the artists I choose to support are capable of releasing 60+ minutes of something worth listening to.
  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Bible music connoisseur There's no place like 127.0.0.1
    edited July 2009
    I'm 24 and I pirate full albums. There, somebody had to say it.
  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin
    edited July 2009
    I buy full albums that I like the majority of the songs on. I buy singles when two songs on the cd are good, the rest filler. I use itunes because it's easy to get songs on my touch or on my pc.
  • SerpSerp Texas
    edited July 2009
    22 and I only buy full albums. That said, I've never bought a song or album from iTunes or any downloadable music service.

    I'll generally only buy a CD if I've had the chance to listen to the whole thing. The only exception is if there was a song that I really, REALLY liked then I would just buy the CD and hope the others songs would be ok.

    I love buying the physical CD, unwrapping it, opening the CD player, putting the CD in, closing the CD player, and pressing play.

    The majority of my CD collection is stuff that isn't played on the radio(any more or never has) because to me, most mainstream music now, especially what's played on the radio, doesn't seem worth spending money on. Be it $.99 or $10 - 15.
  • lunchb0xlunchb0x Lansing, MI
    edited July 2009
    I'm 27 and I buy full albums. Back in the days of the Pepsi/iTunes promotion, I used to buy single songs.

    Most of the stuff I've been listening to lately, the CDs are good front to back. The music I'm listening to (funk and metal) don't get as much air play as the pop groups and as a rule, the CDs as a whole are stronger. Yeah, Black Clouds & Silver Linings only has 6 songs on it, but each of those songs is really good.
  • racerace Tejas
    edited July 2009
    Marushka wrote:
    I had a similar discussion with a friend much older than I (75) a few months ago and he raised an interesting alternative point. The album, at a time, was a very new concept to the music scene (he cited Sgt Pepper). It changed music, no doubt, and gave artists a new canvas to display their depth and skill. In terms of the digital media and iTunes generation, he saw a lot of the positives and viewed it as a similar shift in music as an art form. If the album was going the way of extinction as a consequence, then that's unfortunate, but still a side effect.

    This is what I was thinking as mas0n and I were discussing this in the car. The album is what it is because of the media it was recorded on. An LP, a CD, a whatever holds x number of minutes. What can you do with that time? It is stored in this case and the cover looks like this. A few artists went outside that box occasionally, but it's usually just minor variations on the same idea. 60 minutes of music on a disc in a case. Digital is a completely new media with endless unexplored conceptual possibilities. I welcome artists who are game to explore how they can express themselves in the unconfined time frame of digital media.

    Merce Cunningham just died and it's been a reminder to think outside the beat.
  • OhmecksOhmecks Orlando, Florida
    edited July 2009
    To be honest, I'm 17, and I've only purchased music one time. I had listened to Orbital's Middle of Nowhere album through my parents' Rhapsody subscription, and I had liked it very much. I eventually found a used copy in a generic jewel case at a local FYE. Apart from this album, I listen to video game music and remixes of video game music almost exclusively.

    It's always entertaining to watch others' disbelief when I claim to be unfamiliar with certain musicians. ("Metallica? Never heard 'em.")
  • primesuspectprimesuspect Beepin n' Boopin Detroit, MI
    edited July 2009
    ^ welcome to the new generation
  • edited July 2009
    Nice response from everyone here. I am actually very surprised by how many people still enjoy the full album experience in the Icrontic community. All sales data indicates that its on its way out, but Icrontian's seem to do things on their own individual terms. Nice discussion.
  • BuddyJBuddyJ Dept. of Propaganda OKC
    edited July 2009
    The overwhelming majority of the time, I not only buy full albums but also listen to the albums in their entirety. I prefer vinyl to anything and thankfully these days artists are including full digital downloads along with their vinyl purchases. Otherwise I stick to CDs.

    Of course, my choice of music isn't major label acts most of the time. I like artists like Sufjan Stevens who are devoted to the artform of Making an Album, where the art, music, liner notes, packaging, and even disc color create not just sound but an experience.

    I disagree with Cliff. Digital isn't killing the full album experience. It's lazy artists and big money record labels. What digital is doing is giving the artists that care a new way to share and connect with their audience. It's the new medium that adds to the full album experience if only artists will embrace it. And they are ... Nine Inch Nails, Radiohead, Ryan Adams, The Flaming Lips ... they're all doing it.

    Also, Billy Corgan's reputation as a total dickwad far exceeds his reputation in the industry as a talented musician. He is no longer relevant.
  • UPSLynxUPSLynx :KAPPA: Redwood City, CA
    edited July 2009
    We are a rather exclusive bunch, I think, when the majority of us say that we buy full albums.

    Outside of Icrontic, I know few that still do.

    I buy albums every single time. I have bought one song on iTunes, and I doubt I'll ever use it again. I buy physical CDs, I never fully got on the digital bandwagon (with games, either). I buy CDs because I do the majority of listening in my vehicle. I'm not the type to output an MP3 player to a stereo in my truck to listen to 16 GB of music, I'd rather put in a CD and listen to the story the artist tells.

    In fact, the only MP3 player I own is a 2GB generic used primarily for exercising.

    Artists tell stories with their albums. Some artists take this further than others. My favorite band, Dream Theater, takes album storytelling to an astonishing level. You wouldn't buy a chapter or two from a film on DVD, so why only buy sections of an album?

    I absolutely adore music, and I love the album. I'll always be an album man, and I hope things never change in that respect.
  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI
    edited July 2009
    ^ I've been listening to the new Dream Theater straight through, both CDs, for a couple weeks now at work. It's sublime.
  • LincLinc Bard Detroit
    edited July 2009
    mas0n wrote:
    Is there any incentive to buy a full album on iTunes?
    Yes; it's usually cheaper by a dollar or two, and/or bonus content. I've increased my music purchasing quite a bit since I went digital, because I think CDs are ripoffs ($18-22 for 12 tracks? No thx).
    Buddy J wrote:
    I not only buy full albums but also listen to the albums in their entirety.
    Same. I don't think I've ever used iTunes' shuffle features. After one album ends, I pick the next one I want to listen to. My "playlists" are chronological anthologies by artist. If it's time for Radiohead... it's time for some goddamn Radiohead. :mouldy:
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