Magazine article Variety

Fans Are Not Fools: It's Time to Retire the Album

Magazine article Variety

Fans Are Not Fools: It's Time to Retire the Album

Article excerpt

The concept is antiquated in today's multimedia landscape. Just ask Amanda Palmer

It's about the money, not the statement.

Do you write 10 tunes in your head every two or three years? And in between have long stretches of absolute darkness? Do you not sleep for months and then get under the covers for weeks at a time?

The album is an antiquated construct that fits the modern era not at all but it sustains because it's the only way artists and labels have figured out how to make money.

Oh, so you want an album deal? How would you like to be on RCA Records right now, with their Timberlake juggernaut? Hey, I dare you, name one song beyond Suit & Tie!

Oh, you want me to admit I was wrong. That we're all not tired of JT, that he's a god.

I'll admit that there's still life in the old system. Saturation publicity. Getting a fraction of the public excited enough to purchase an album without hearing it first. A frenzy. But that's not love so much as impulse. Like a one-night stand instead of a love affair.

And who knows, maybe people will have a love affair with The 20/20 Experience, doesn't bother me.

But I will tell you there was The 20/20 Experience and ... Yes, if this is a paradigm for the future, where are the other successes? Justin Timberlake won the lottery and you're still broke, scraping up cash to buy tickets.

And RCA is thrilled. Because they just made their quarter, maybe their whole damn year. Because a label doesn't care what sells, only that something sells. So if you're another act on RCA today, you're getting short shrift, all the energy and dollars are going where the cash is, The 20/20 Experience.

Yes, you want to be a priority. Why do you want to put your fate in the hands of others?

And why do you want to make an album?

You say it's about the statement, but you didn't make one. The truth is you're just inured to the old way. You're stupid. You're afraid of the future.

The labels do it because that's where the money is. Which is why they made people buy the album for the single back in the last century. And as soon as people got the option to get only what they wanted to hear? Via Napster and iTunes? Singles soared and albums tanked. Because no one wants to hear that much bad music. …

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