The Changing Face of Consumption

Originally published by So’lano Music Group.

The act of listening used to be an event in and of itself. People would turn on the radio and simply listen; it was an activity as legitimate as any other.

These days listening has been bumped to the sidelines, which is somewhat ironic as it seems that we now consume more music than ever before. Television shows, commercials, and movies all use scores and pop songs to make their scenes more emotionally evocative. Malls and shops often have music playing in the background. Car stereo systems have become standard to the point of being assumed. Most notably, thanks to increasingly portable formats, music now comes with us even as we walk down the street.

We’ve gained control not only over where and how we listen, but also very specific control over what we hear. We now pick and choose our songs, bouncing between various tracks and flicking through, or past, whatever songs don’t tickle our momentary fancies.

Albums are increasingly falling by the wayside in favour of playlists, a trend not simply reflected in our listening habits, but also our purchases. Even within the last decade we have gone from buying full albums and ripping the tracks ourselves to create these digital mixtapes, to being able to pick and choose individual tracks from an album and purchase only those.

So why create full length albums at all anymore? With the exception of concept albums wherein each song necessarily relates to all the others, there is little reason why an artist can’t switch from bi-annual LPs to annual or even semi-annual EPs and singles. In an era of dwindling attention spans, there could be a great marketing advantage to be had by releasing a steady flow of songs to keep yourself fresh in the minds of fans, rather than sudden, infrequent spurts of music.

This would of course impact — and potentially complicate — things like booking studio time and planning tours, but the potential payoff of holding your fans’ attention could be worth a reevaluation of your release schedule.

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