Listening to some classic albums a lot recently. Everyone’s idea of ‘classic’ is different, as is everyone’s taste. Let’s not get into that, we’re not in the playground now, trying to have the coolest records that no-one else has heard of, using the image and profile of a given band to bolster our own thin veneer of worldliness. The album was Crosby, Stills and Nash. The first one, with the three of them sitting on a bedraggled sofa on the cover. Nash said of that album that when they recorded it, they just wanted people to have an experience where ‘you took off the shrink wrap, put it on the stereo, sparked up a fat one and you were GONE…’
You know, I’ve said this before, but I firmly believe that the hour-long album is too long. There’s a lot of finger-pointing about the death of the album. Reduced attention spans, multimedia expectations, iTunes track-by-track downloads, p2p, the list is long. But the album is disappearing as a concept because it was destroyed by the 12-track minimum on a cd release. When cds began to replace vinyl as the industry standard, consumers made it known that they were not happy paying 14.99 for the same music as they use to get on vinyl for 8.99. At lower quality. Bands, not record companies, tried to even things up by putting some extra tracks on the larger-capacity format. Unless you are unfortunate enough to need to know about music copyright conventions, you might not know that this was to the financial detriment of the acts themselves, who, through all kinds of legal skullduggery, ended up being paid less for providing 12 tracks, per track, than they would have made if there had only been ten. Still, the bands felt they had to justify their labels’ greed. But the end result is a product which is just too long, too diluted, to provide the same sense of escape and abandon that a truly great, 45 minute album gives.
Everyone agrees that the music industry has changed. The 90s will not come again. The industry is fragmented and the CD sales model is over. There are no rules any more. That’s almost a mantra in the industry now: ‘dude, there are no rules any more’. So, some wrist slapping now. Why are we, BlancoMusic, still releasing hour-long cds? Habit. It has to stop. This format is dead, over. It is an ex-format.
Here’s what BlancoMusic’s are going to do. Vinyl EPs. Four tracks per. Backed up with digital. Sod the cd.
Let’s see how that goes.
Here’s some sunshine: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1724410/indes_dcdp01_budnubac_blancomusic.mp3