Friday, December 30, 2005

The Death of the Album?

According to this data (linked via Eric Alterman's blog), CDs as a medium are continuing to decline in sales, while one-shot, single-song downloads skyrocket. My question: Does this mean that, eventually, the "album" as an art form (the thematic or linked collection of songs originally developed by people like the Beatles and the Beach Boys) is doomed? Will there be some other "long form" in which popular music can find broader, deeper expression than is possible in three to five minutes? If so, what is it and where is it emerging?

My point is just that this format question may be more than purely a matter of marketing and economic control. It may have esthetic implications, too. Assuming that such things still matter in pop music.

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