Is the Album Dead ?


Senior Member
Hi all. Finally thought of something good to start my first thread. I was thinking about this the other day and then they started discussing the same thing on That Metal Show (thieves!) My question is this:

What comprises most of your listening - complete albums with the songs in the order the artist intended, or mix CDs / mp3 playlists that you make?

I have to admit that I listen to things much more on a song by song basis rather than whole albums. As far back as I could I was making mix cassettes off the radio or with a dual cassette deck from other tapes or records. (yes I'm old, but not old enough to have had 8 tracks!) And when I was first able to burn my own mix CD of songs I selected I was in heaven. I will listen to an album like The Wall, Close to the Edge or Kind of Blue once in awhile, but really almost everything I listen to is CDs I make or mp3 playlists of songs arranged how I want them.

And of course now with single song digital downloads becoming more and more popular, the album may soon be a thing of the past. I will admit there is something lost with not having the big record albums of the past with full artwork and liner notes. (although I hear best buy is selling vinyl again so maybe albums are not dead.) What's your preference? Do you care if the concept of an album dies due to new methods of distribution?


Senior Member
I listen to mostly albums at a time.

I feel the Album is still alive and well, but Album SALES are dead/dying which is so very unfortunate


Senior Member
What comprises most of your listening - complete albums with the songs in the order the artist intended, or mix CDs / mp3 playlists that you make?
Definately the former. But I dislike concept albums.


Platinum Member
Personally, I listen to full albums. From start to finish. With over 2000 CD's in my collection. Keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.


Full albums. It's rather rare that I listen to individual songs, particularly at the moment seeing as my main CD collection is at University and all I have is basically a turntable.


Silver Member
I have about 1000 Lps and their CD versions. I play the CDs from start to finish while holding the LPs and reading the liner notes, enjoying their art works, etc... absolutely with no cracking sounds, skips etc...
I always think the way to enjoy the album is listen to all songs in their entirely , the way it was studio recorded by the band, or the sequence in which it was arranged and approved by the band.

I am an audiophile., get so irritated by bad production.


I have over 2000 CDs and albums. Being that my taste is in progressive rock (lots of concept albums), I also listen to full albums. But being from the underground FM radio era that played entire albums, I grew to love entire albums.

In addition, there are MANY, MANY albums where the hit may not actually be the best track. I think Queen exemplifies this as much, if not more, than any other rock band. They had so many great songs, many of which were of entirely different genres (heavy rock, prog, English Music Hall, Gilber and Sullivan, acoustic ballads, even opera).

For many bands, like AC/DC, I tend to focus on the hits, because most of their songs sound the same, at least to me (sincere apologies to AC/DC fans who would understandably disagree).

It's funny. Last night, another drummer and I were talking about playing covers, and he asked me how many songs I know well enough to sit and play without a cursory listen. I told him about 3,000 - 4,000 songs. The drummer was amazed, but understood when I told him I had 40 years of avid listening (he was in his late 20's), and came from an era where we listened to ALL the songs at least a couple of hundred times, not even counting the FM radio play.

I said, Think about it. With the exception of Coda, I pretty much can play all of Led Zeppelin's catalogue (71 songs from LZ's debut album through In Through the Out Door). Now, add the number of bands to this where you know most of the songs by heart, to include (perusing my iPod):

Aerosmith (their first ten albums)
AC/DC (for me, about 20 songs)
Allman Brothers (first four albums)
Alice Cooper (Love It to Death through Welcome to My Nightmare - five albums)

There is nearly 200 songs right there, covering only a small sample of the "A's." It doesn't even take in a hundred other songs from other "A" bands (America, Bryan Adams, Asia, Animals, etc).

Now add in the other letters of the alphabet, which include the likes of:

The Beatles
Creedence Clearwater Revival
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Eric Clapton
The Doors
The Eagles
Emerson, Lake and Palmer
Elton John
Billy Joel
Pink Floyd
Rolling Stones
The Who
ZZ Top

And many, MANY more!

And this is only rock. How about jazz, jazz fusion, country, R&B, hip-hop, latin, classical (I personally LOVE to practice to classical pieces).

Indeed 3,000 to 4,000 songs may indeed be a conservative estimate.

All because we have been listening to albums in their entirety, and listening to them intently, at home, in front of a stereo, rather than just listening to music as background noise (while driving, reading, working out, working, etc).


Platinum Member
I have said this many times, up until MP3 downloads, most artist would write and album. A cohesive set of songs that work together to compile one body of work " an album"

Unfortunately with songs being bought one at a time out of context I feel that part of out art is going away if not gone. Now everything has to be a stand alone hit.

I fell sorry for this you generation that has never turned off the lights, put on headphones and listened to Pink Floyd Animals, or RUSH 2112, or Jethro Tull Aqualung,and the list goes on and on. I am afraid the art of creating an album and the amazing warmth that is vinyl is all but lost. At least with CD they were still all in one place,


Platinum Member
To be honest i wouldn't usually listen to a whole album in order but i do like getting albums to put songs on my playlist because usually there are a few good songs that aren't nesicerally on the singles list.
No, albums remain larger than life. In addition, I still have cassettes and CD versions.
Albums are so original, unique and classic.


Senior Member
albums all the way, usally the artists best stuff isnt on the radio, never downloaded music, just bought the album and support the artist, get the best of the music and all of it.


Senior Member
as a rule when i first get a new cd i listen to it from front to back the first time. that determines whether i listen to certain songs or the whole album, it's right at 50/50 split on how i choose to listen. example: radiohead, on pablo honey the only song i can stand to listen to is creep, but i listen to hail to the thief from start to finish repeatedly.


Platinum Member
Personally, I love full albums.

I love the sonic adventure of an album taking me through the highs and lows, peaks and valleys of the artists music. There is an art to putting together an album, which songs make it, which songs get left off, the order of the songs, the different moods the blend of songs can produce.

But that said, I think albums are near dead. With downloads, no one has to buy a full album anymore. You can buy as many or few songs from an album as you want. It's off from the album making stand point that you pay the same amount in studio time for every song, but the public only buys 1, 2 or 3 songs, leaving the other 7 to 9 songs not recouping the recording expense.

The ease of single downloads, Ipod play lists and so on are teaching younger listeners to focus on the songs, not albums. While audiophiles and big music fans still love the album, the next generation(s) of the buying public is just not focused on albums, and in 10 to 20 years, I could see most bands going back to the 50's-60's way of releasing singles without albums.


Silver Member
The mass market for full albums may be shrinking, but there is always going to be a place for the "specialist" to buy/sell music. Non-mainstream music does not enjoy the same downloadability as the latest Beyonce track, largely because not nearly as many people care about the latest Zappa release as they do about Lady Gaga.

Even so, new formats will assert their superiority and as flac and other download formats make it easier to put stuff out via internet, the hard copy will be more endangered. The last frontier will be video, I think.


Platinum Member
Albums! And from the responses so far it seems I am in the clear majority!

And as it happens I actually have an album coming out very soon, 'The New Food To Eat', which will be on iTunes before too long, and also available on CD.
For more info on that, click where it says 'This' in my signature!
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Platinum Member
I think that album is going to be replaced by the DVD. Well, that's what I'd like to see happen. There was a lot written about this years back in relation to opera where the idea of having the whole production on a DVD for $25.00 or 35.00 seemed more logical from a dollars and sense point of view rather than having three or four CD's at 18.00 bucks a clip for just the music.

Many bands will put out a DVD of their latest tour so fans can have a audio-visual remembrance of the concert: U2, Metallica, Pain of Salvation, Rush, Dream Theater. I think that really pushes the envelop for having the most outlandish stage productions that could then pay for themselves through the DVD sales if not at the box office. Seems like a win-win situation, especially for Metal fans. Look at Kiss, Alice Cooper or Dream Theater. A lot of metal bands still do concept pieces any way, like the new Queensryche, so you could see that realized live, like Pink Floyd did with The Wall.

You already have these concert tours of Celtic Woman or Celtic Men, like Riverdance (I'm half Irish) where you have that happening already. The DVDs end up on PBS and then people go see the show and buy the DVD for their library. Seems like a win-win situation.