Like many of you, I don’t quite buy as many albums as I used. In last six months, there are two albums — Bombay Dub Orchestra’s 3 Cities and Federico Aubele’s Amatoria — that made the cut for me and merited the full download. I fully agreed with Mark Cuban, who declared that the album was dead. He correctly pointed out that iTunes had changed our buying habits – we now buy singles. “Why don’t artists serialize the release of songs ? Why not create a “season” of release of songs, much like the fall TV season,” he wrote. Great idea.
Today when my friend Ethan Diamond, founder of BandCamp (Disclosure: a music start-up that is funded by True Ventures, where I am a Venture Partner) posted his defense, arguing that the album is not dead. At least not in the indie-music circles, the kind of people who often use Bandcamp.
His claim made me think about my own purchasing habits and that is indeed true — of the 20 odd albums I have bought over last year-and-a-half, there is not a single one that has been released by a big label. CéU is an awesome Brazilian singer who is on San Francisco-based Six Degrees Records. Niraj Chag is on a little known no-name label as well. I could go on but the point is that with the exception of Beyonce, who I adore, I don’t have much time for any big label’s musical fare. Ethan also points out that “people are more likely to buy albums when they can actually listen to them beforehand.” I agree — most of these albums came to me through recommendations pushed by Pandora and Last.fm.
Funny how the world of music has changed. The music industry’s old guard cannot seem to come to grips with the quintessential change – the atomization of content. People are not interested in buying music by the bulk, snacking on what they like and sometimes, when they find something tasty, buying the whole entree. I am off to listening to CéU’s new album, Vagarosa.