Is This the End of Albums As We Knew Them?

Posted by David Konow

We’ve been hearing about the end of the album for some time now. A lot of artists have been saying they don’t see the point in doing albums, and in today’s day and age it probably makes more sense to put out a song at a time, which is a shame, because there were artists that really made albums an art.

It’s been said that when the Beatles did their Rubber Soul album, it was one of the first times an artist did an LP that worked together as a complete piece instead of several singles strung together with a bunch of filler. Then The Beatles did one of the greatest works of art in rock history with Sgt Peppers, showing a generation of musicians what could be done with the medium.
 
Now Variety tells us that Katy Perry’s newest release, Prism, is “a good example of how albums don’t work anymore.” Granted, you can’t compare Katy Perry to the Beatles, or anyone who used the album as an artistic medium, but as Variety laments, “The album is dying in front of our very eyes…What kind of screwed up world do we live in where Katy Perry’s new album sells only 287,000 copies in its debut? One in which everybody’s interested in the single, and no one’s got time to sit and hear your hour-plus statement.”
 
This report also felt, “If your plan is to increase your audience, spread the word and make money, suddenly the album just isn’t working anymore.” But again, would this be a surprise with pop artists? And should it really be a surprise with the music industry, or what’s left of it, still struggling to keep its head above water? 
 
Then again, it’s also nice to read that all the hype and smoke and mirrors didn’t help Miley Cyrus’s album move many copies either. None of this should be a shock to any music fans, especially us old fogeys who remember how it used to be. 
 
It’s still hard to figure out where things could land in the future. It’s a whole new world out there in the music business, and things will never be what they were, but we’re still hoping that something new and cool could one day rise from the ashes. As we’ve seen in history, all it takes it one artist to shake things up, and right now that artist couldn’t come a minute too soon.