Tag: mihimaru GT
Yes, it’s probably going to fail just as hard as you think it will. Album sales are sucking in the physical format, how will they survive in the digital format where the individual track is king?
It won’t. This is the same tired dream that has been talked about and failed before.
While I totally support the Album format it just isn’t well balanced for online sales. The problem is that nobody trusts albums anymore; so many years of selling albums with 2 good tracks and 10 filler tracks has lead people to distrust the big labels when it comes to music. The only reason albums still sell in America is that they don’t market singles here.
Too bad too, an album that is 90% filler isn’t the album format’s fault, it’s the fault of the producers and labels that crank out BS. I’ve talked a few times about how physical sales could become more attractive to consumers (that old post reminds me I need to get that “Switch” single.) It’s easy to find good albums that are full of great content from start to finish that even flow from song to create a real musical experience. They usually just come from smaller independent bands who have to rely on good music to make sales. One reason “cocktail” will fail is that it’s a collaboration between Apple and those big labels that crank out crap, only now it will be digital crap.
The main reason this is a bad idea is that online digital liner notes and images don’t have any appeal. I can goto last.fm for all the bios and images I need, and a plugin that feeds lyrics gets the rest of the liner notes. Besides when I’m on my computer listening I don’t want desktop real-estate taken up with static images or text, it’s just a background soundtrack for my actions. And if you cram this stuff into an iPod screen there will be no room to really see anything.
When people listen to music they don’t stare at the album art while they listen; they just queue up the track and pop the iPod back in their pocket while the stare wistfully out the window of the bus.
Digital format can only really be enhanced by adding video, and it can excel at this as I’ve mentioned in other writings I’ve made. But this can be done just as easily with singles, so it’s not really going to help the online album format any more. All the efforts the big labels are working on would work better in the physical format. In fact that YesAsia link I put above for the limited edition of “Switch” proves the point, it already has the lyrics and typical liner notes, adds in additional promotional photo shoot pictures, a DVD with the song’s music video and “making of” video, plus the commercial advertising the song. Suddenly having a physical copy seems a lot more interesting than a song with DRM locked flash programs attached.
Which is another big point, many CDs have been enriched with digital content that comes in the form of a DRM laden, bloated, adobe flash or shockwave piece-o-crap. Or worse some proprietary program that is nothing more than legal malware screwing up your computer. And you know that whatever way they use to display all this additional content it will be locked down with DRM just like those “enhanced content” CDs.
The idea of enriching music is a good one, but big labels aren’t smart enough to make it happen in a meaningful or useful way. Online all the things you can add are usually already available through other sources, the only appeal is to give you something you can keep on your hard-drive for offline use. If the big labels want to revive the album, make albums that aren’t 90% filler; make them so that when listened to as a whole the album becomes more than the sum of their parts. Songs that lead well into other songs, or songs that through the album tell a story or take the listener through a series of emotional experiences. It takes more work and talent but that is what they need to increase sales; don’t just polish the latest Blink182 turd with some pictures and expect us to think it’s better.
Thanks to Ars Technica and the many other blogs reporting this.
BTW: I’m planning on addressing the Apple tablet issue in another post.