Apple’s iTunes Music Store will change the album concept; artists should embrace change

“Apple’s iTunes is a tool of liberation. It gives them the freedom to pick and choose, and, in essence, make their own compilations from favorite tracks… In fact, the opportunity to compile personalized play lists and track selections may be one of the service’s biggest draws,” writes Charles Haddad for BusinessWeek.

Haddad continues, “Fans of iTunes represent an unstoppable force. Who wants to keep all those CDs if you can carry around 1,000 songs on an iPod and easily expand that library through the Internet? Not many I suspect. Nor is this growing army of Internet-savvy users going to stop at music. Not too far in the future an iVideo and perhaps an iTome, for downloading literature and audiobooks, respectively, will be available.”

“Already, I can hear the distant wail of writers and producers. But they better get used to it. People now expect to pick and choose. They’ve been doing it close to a decade with online versions of newspapers and magazines,” Haddad writes. “…What the Chili Peppers and Metallica need to do is embrace the new format and portable players, bending this technology to their artistic will. After all, a lot of rock groups took to albums as an artistic riposte to the tyranny of Top 40 radio. I’m sure Apple would be only too happy to help these bands to figure the mechanics of such a new format.”

Full article here.


  1. Just my opinion, but..

    I think artists should be allowed to decide whether their music is sold on a track basis or album-only basis. I would imagine the norm would end up that new releases would be sold on an album-only basis. When demand drops, go to a track basis. I imagine the revenue stream would be about the same, or maybe slightly better.

    Ten years from now after this (online music thing) all settles out, I think this is how it will work:

    New release albums only sold as whole albums. In addition I would predict older albums being sold for a lower price ($3.99 for a 20 year old classic, $5.99 for a 10 year old, $7.99 for a 3 years, etc)..

  2. I disagree with the nay-sayers who predict the demise of the album. Those of us who like albums will continue to buy them. Maybe this is real incentive for artists who like the album format to produce better quality work, instead of squeezing out one or two decent tracks, then spewing out a bunch of filler. If you don’t have enough good music to fill an album, stick to singles releases for God’s sake.

  3. I agree. I really hate those artists out there (and there are plenty) who strive for a mainstream radio hit and accompany that hit with mediocre tracks. How many times have you spent $15 bucks on a CD for essentially one song worth listening to?

    There isn’t a demise of the album. There certainly will be a demise of the so-so music artist who can’t put out an ALBUMWORTH set of songs.

  4. In the good old days of vinyl albums made a lot more sense. Think about albums by groups like Jethro Tull’s “Thick as a Brick”, Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” and “The Wall”, Cat Stevens’ “Numbers”, etc. whose albums were produced with a concept in mind. The album as a whole was a piece of work, and you could hear the change in the artist’s musical vocabulary with each album.

    But the Chilli Peppers? Come on. The albums are a mishmash of disparate songs not tied to each other by a single thread. The album is just a repository now for whatever the group happened to come up with to fill their contracts. The album died a long time ago.

    People ARE tired of paying too much for one friggin song off of an otherwise dismal album. What happened to the days of getting an album FULL of incredible music? Save the album? For what? To continue to pay for crap? No thank you. Give me iTunes so I can pick and choose what I truly like.

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