Are Albums Too Long Or Not Long Enough?

Written by | December 21, 2012 0:04 | No Comments

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The optimum length for an album is 30 minutes, in vinyl talk 15 minutes a side,  long enough before you flip it over. But that doesn't exist any more. Not just vinyl but the right length album doesn't exist any more. At a buck 29 a song, bands still have a hard time justifying $12 to $16 albums, especially those deluxe ones… 

The result has been obvious since hip hop CDs were padded with terrible skits back in the 1990s: a huge dip in quality of material. Meanwhile rockers were are trying to produce 80 minutes of quality material and failing. Albums were a towering mess.

And still are. I've listened to 100s of albums and while a best of is still a best of and, I dunno, probably 75 albums in my best of is pretty hefty, still the overall quality is down. Way down. 

And this is particularly sad because, although streaming has brought albums back to the forefront, people really don't listen to albums any more. They just have too many options to struggle through bad albums or even good albums. 

The answer would appear to be singles or EPs, but then you are constantly pushing the product and nothing new to sell while you're on tour. And even if the concept is to invert Thriller, it is a dodgy career move. You release single after single every coupla weejs, get a big handful of hits, and then release the album. It might work, it did for Taylor Swift (only one song missed), less so for Bruno Mars. But how many people are Taylor Swift? 

SIngles don't sustain artistic vision, albums don't have the artistic vision to be sustained. The best album of the year was 30 minutes in length, it might not have been with even two more songs on it.

The answer is obvious. Shorter albums. Cut out the crap if it is crap. Better quality control. Stop filling space. It is like everybody has become Prince in the 1990s, they won't stop releasing music. And stop with the remixes. Perhaps the music biz would make more money if they changed the recording music paradigm.

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