Did the "album era" end in 2006?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by humanracer, May 25, 2023.

  1. humanracer

    humanracer Forum Resident Thread Starter

    According to this, LPs were big in the 70s, cassettes in the 80s and CDs in the 90s until around 2006 when downloading (a lot of it illegally) became popular. Was that the point when the album became a thing of a past?
    Record sales - Wikipedia
    Crimson Witch likes this.
  2. pbuzby

    pbuzby Senior Member

    Chicago, IL, US
    Not sure but I think Tower Records closed that year. You could call that a turning point.
  3. Turnaround

    Turnaround Prestige Worldwide!

    New York
    I don't think it's like an on/off switch that music changed from one dominant format to another. For example, albums used to have tracks grouped conceptually as A-side and B-side, with some intent behind which song started the A-side or B-side playback, but the CD format changed that. The shift in how a group of songs was organized didn't happen overnight.

    With the "album" format, I think the biggest rift was the start of iTunes in 2003. Apple required that tracks be sold individually (for 99 cents). Before that, with the CD format, consumers were forced to to buy an "album" just to get the one or two tracks they really wanted. Music was packaged as "albums," and record labels would have one album out at a time to market the heck out of it. I think iTunes started moving record companies and artists away from the "album" format and reworking how they packaged and released music.

    Later, as music streaming became popular, artists started figuring out that they did not have to release music when they had a set of 10 songs for an album. They could release one song a month, or an EP every few months. It would find its way to fans on the streaming services, and it worked better with modern social media marketing, having brand new content to promote every week or month to keep fans continuously engaged and interested in following the artist.
  4. The Lone Cadaver

    The Lone Cadaver Bass & Keys Cadaver

    Beats me. The artists I enjoy who are still recording continue to put out full CD albums.
    Damien DiAngelo, TonyACT, zen and 9 others like this.
  5. dunce

    dunce Local jester!

    San Diego

    drds89 likes this.
  6. paulisdead

    paulisdead fast and bulbous

    No. And rock isn't dead, either. Refer to this video made by a popular YouTuber in his mid-20's.

    terrapinstation likes this.
  7. Swansong

    Swansong From Planet Earth

    The “Album” isn’t dead, it just smells funny o_O
    powerq, dlokazip, Moshe and 2 others like this.
  8. saturdayboy

    saturdayboy Forum Resident

    The era might have, but the album didn’t
  9. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Unable to tolerate bass solos

    I wonder what Dude and Bro have to say about this, @Peter Mork
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  10. tug_of_war

    tug_of_war Unable to tolerate bass solos

    That's from 1997. The album era didn't end until 9 years later.
    bmoc79, OobuJoobu, Friar Hood and 3 others like this.
  11. Dennis Metz

    Dennis Metz Born In A Motor City south of Detroit

    Fonthill, Ontario
    MichaelH likes this.
  12. Moshe

    Moshe "Silent in four languages."

    Hmmm. Yes.
    Yep. It's over.
    tug_of_war likes this.
  13. Peter Mork

    Peter Mork Forum Resident

    Dead, yet strangely profitable. There are tiny Pacific islands where albums are used as money. They are hoarded by speculators, ground up and smoked, considered an aphrodisiac in Somalia, spread over fields to kill the invasive Tobacco Weevil.
    Grootna, Fullbug, phantomime and 2 others like this.
  14. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    Huh? Another of those threads? Did the op turn 27 in 2006? :whistle:
    MichaelH likes this.
  15. CD Addict

    CD Addict Bonus tracks? Yes, please.

    Naperthrill, IL.
    Hamhead and Swansong like this.
  16. Crimson Witch

    Crimson Witch ︁︂︌︍️

    It just may well have been back in aught-six, or any other year for that matter.
  17. Neonbeam

    Neonbeam All Art Was Once Contemporary

    Planet Earth
    If we are discussing stuff like this the op could at least have linked the corresponding article:
    Album era - Wikipedia
    Mr Bass likes this.
  18. humanracer

    humanracer Forum Resident Thread Starter

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  19. Exitmusic

    Exitmusic Forum Resident

    Leicester U.K
    I disagree with the statement that the album era ended in 2006. Obviously the advent of music streaming was a game changer in a way that albums could be released and listened to but in the last ten years there's been albums like Norman ****** Rockwell, To Pimp A Butterfly and Blonde as well as countless others which are seen as huge artistic statements and ones that need to be listened to from start to finish.
  20. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Austin, TX, USA

    Albums will always have a place in the consumption of music, but the vast majority of music is currently consumed on the basis of individual tracks. Albums no longer have the stature that they did between 1966 and 2006. It was a good run, though.
    Past Masters and The Quiet One like this.
  21. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Mid Atlantic
    While I often agree with you I don't think the OP is stating anything wild or weird. I am an Album lover as I have repeatedly stated and even I have admitted that the Album is pretty much on life support. I might quibble about the date since significant synth pop Albums continued to come out until 2010 or so. Now I feel it is increasingly a retro phenomenon for older groups and those doing a neo style like say Triptides or Lana. Country is a bit of a lagging indicator so I wouldn't put much weight on Taylor Swift etc in terms of albums.YSMMV (Your streaming mileage may vary)
    Neonbeam likes this.
  22. MichaelH

    MichaelH Forum Resident

    I did.
  23. humanracer

    humanracer Forum Resident Thread Starter

    First time reading that. Great article.

    In 2006, CD sales were outnumbered for the first time by single downloads, with digital music consumers buying singles over albums by a margin of 19 to 1

    Also should be remembered that while people were buying downloads, the overall revenue of the music industry fell. This is probably because a lot of people opted for illegal downloads than legal ones.

    Oddly even music revenue appears to be back around the same level as it was in the 80s thanks to streaming. However while revenue is up, artists aren't making as much as they did back then. An artist would rather someone pay £15 for a CD, even if they don't listen to it again than play the best tracks from that album a million times. It pays more.
    Neonbeam likes this.
  24. humanracer

    humanracer Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Another argument that the album era is over is the total lack of compilation albums. If this was the 90s, we would have already have best selling Greatest Hits CDs from big singles acts like Taylor Swift, Rihanna and Pink.
    cyril sneer, elgoodo and Mr Bass like this.
  25. Classicrock

    Classicrock Senior Member

    South West, UK.
    If the album era ended in 2006, what have I been buying for the last 17 years? Vinyl LP sales are at their highest for over 30 years and they contain collections of songs which are generally referred to as albums.
    Past Masters likes this.

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