I’ve just updated my Discography Page and it’s quite satisfying to see all the albums I’ve worked on over the last 16 years. I’m also looking forward to finally adding my own full length release as well as another couple of projects I’m working on later this year!
Allow me to ramble on for a bit… A subject close to the hearts of most independent musicians is the state of the ‘new’ music industry in these days of software-based studios and direct-to-fan marketing. The world of Web 2.0 and so-called Music 3.0 (coined by producer, author and new music industry guru Bobby Owsinksi) is very different to my childhood days of secretly listening to my siblings’ vinyl (gatefold sleeves preferred) and taping the Top 40 countdown off Radio 1 on a Sunday evening (and being annoyed when the DJ spoke over the track I was waiting for). The record buying public devoured the few morsels tossed in their direction by the taste-makers and the mechanics of recording and releasing songs was held firmly in the fist of the major record companies.
A new album release was a huge event for fans and the vinyl or cassette formats forced start-to-finish listening – the singles as well as the “album tracks”. I got to know every note and beat on most of my collection and the end of a song would trigger a mental expectation of which track came next. I loved the game of trying to sing the first note of the next track at exactly the right pich and time as it began.
The limitations of that era are alien to the iTunes, Spotify and YouTube generation. I guess the demise of the relevance of the album format began when you could program track sequences into CD players and no longer had to endure the songs you didn’t immediately like. The world had changed for ever and possibly rang the death knell for the “grower” song-type.
Change is good though and having a Spotify night where everyone takes turns to pick the next track to play (from pretty much the entire collection of the world’s recorded music) is a luxury I wouldn’t want to give up.
Why am I rambling about this? Well the concept of releasing an album is still to an extent what is expected from artists because that is what they’ve always done. As a fan, waiting a year for a collection of songs may build anticipation but may also result in a loss of interest as modern music “consumers” grow accustomed to continuous stimulation, ideally for free (Spotify – case in point). So the question is:
– do you prefer to wait for an album (specifically a physical CD) or would you be happier hearing new songs as they are created on a much more frequent basis instead?
Music Think Tank have a great blog post on exactly this argument here.
Me? I still love albums and I still buy CDs (for the physical object as well as the audio quality) but I immediately rip them to MP3 and listen mostly on my phone these days (though I do still listen to albums from start to finish sometimes). I also love Soundcloud as a kind of audio-only blog for hearing continuous output from musicians I’m interested in.
With studio recording beginning on my own debut album in less than 2 weeks, I’m thinking about release strategies. There will definitely be a physical CD – but you’ll probably get to hear some of it much earlier than I had originally planned!
I guess change is the only certainty – exciting times…
This Thursday (April 26th), I’ll be playing double-bass for Andi Neate at the launch of her 6th album that we recorded last year.
I’ll also be doing a set of my own songs, joined by singer Jules Philip.
The Jazz Bar, Edinburgh. Thursday 26th 9pm £6/5
In other news, I’m excited to be supporting ex-Inspiral Carpets’ frontman Tom Hingley on July 5th!
Details on GIGS PAGE.