Is the Album Dying?

I remember the day well.

I had just been to Mastersound, a record shop in Haywards Heath. My wages in hand I walked into the shop, found the section I was looking for, and there it was. I pulled the cover from the others and took it to the counter to pay. On my way home I stopped at the local hairdressers for a trim. Not too much – I still wanted long hair. I hated the hairdressers almost as much as the dentist so sat there just looking down at my purchase, so excited to get home and listen.

Hair trimmed I got back on my bike and rode home.

Playing a vinyl album was a ritual.

First you reached carefully inside and pulled the inner liner out, the card sleeve that contained the record. Then, even more carefully reaching into that with your fingers to the centre and your thumb balancing the edge, out came the black disc. Then came the cleaning. Even if it was a brand-new album. Pulling the cloth gently along the grooves to get rid of any dust. A good look and, once it looked clean, place the black circle on the player. Turn it on, and get the turntable spinning at 33rpm.

Now came the tricky bit.

Get this wrong and the needle could go skating across the surface and scratch the album.

So gently pick up the needle and place it on the dark edge. Hear it catch the groove and watch as it moves towards the music. Then pick up the cover again, a wonderful work of art, along with the inner sleeve lyrics, and that opening sound begins.

This is what I heard, and I’ll never forget it.

Life, and music, would never be the same again. I sat transfixed and in a state of utter joy – until I had to stand up and turn the album over to play side 2. But then that feeling continued for another 20 minutes or so. Bliss.

A journey.

I was listening to a podcast the other day which basically said the album was dying as a format. It seems that the single is now the way forward as most people either put their iPods/phones/MP3 players on shuffle and it decides what they would listen to, or they just chose to listen to individual songs. They said that people listen to individual songs on Spotify, Apple Music or YouTube more than they play a full album.

I guess I’m old fashioned. I simply cannot imagine bringing home Dark Side of the Moon and going straight in on the third track, or having The Great Gig in the Sky have as much impact if it came up for the first time on shuffle alongside a song by Slayer and Fairport Convention (my iTunes collection is pretty varied) if I hadn’t taken the time to listen to the full album in the order chosen by the band.

And that is how albums work.

When I’ve recorded my album the flow of the songs from one to the other is as important as the individual songs themselves. The album is a journey, from the opening note to the final refrain. I also heard it said that Adele’s album 25 would be the last album that people bought and listenedΒ to in this way. I don’t agree with that at all, but find it sad that anyone would be even considering that as an idea.

So how do you listen to music? Do you still listen to a full album? Are you a shuffle person? A YouTube song person? When an artist you love releases their new collection of songs do you take the time to listen to it from beginning to end?

Leave a comment, or you can just take the poll below.

[poll id=”3″]
By | 2016-10-14T11:00:21+00:00 April 15th, 2016|Categories: music, Uncategorized|Tags: , , , , , |46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. Adam Ranger April 15, 2016 at 11:40 am - Reply

    I listen to odd tracks from bands and have compilation lists. And often look up son tunes on you tube. But when I buy a new album I buy the whole albumand listen tyo it all the way through.do the same when I listen yo it after its new as well. I am so with you on that vinyl ritual.. It is something I really miss from my younger music listening days.. The anticipation the artwork, the lyrics on the Inner sleeve etc. I do love how music is so accessible these days in a variety of formats. But that moment you put the needle down and just listen for 20 odd minutes per side..that’s magic.

  2. Helen Wood April 15, 2016 at 11:42 am - Reply

    I actually buy more albums now than I used to. CDs were too expensive for me, digital albums are much more reasonable and I hated noisy music shops, so I prefer buying online.

    • Rob April 15, 2016 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      I totally agree. I mostly buy digital albums. Most albums have tracks that I prefer to the popular “hits”. I then make playlists for the car/phone etc that I update as I want.

  3. Ryan C April 15, 2016 at 11:48 am - Reply

    I will shuffle songs from time to time, especially on a train journey or somewhere that I just want the music as “background” but when I’m at home, it’s full albums. If a new album by one of my favourite bands comes out, I will most definitely buy it on CD to get the artwork, lyric booklet etc and listen to it all, in order, at home on a damn good hi-fi system.

    My favourite example of an album that really needs to be heard as an album is Nightwish’s “Endless Forms Most Beautiful” because it’s a journey through evolutionary history, the tree of life, religion, philosophy and beyond. That can’t be appreciated by hearing scattered songs out of order (and getting the 24-minute long “Greatest Show on Earth” coming up on shuffle is just weird).

  4. Jeremiah April 15, 2016 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I have to confess… I shuffle from a list of my favorites. However there is one exception and that is you Damh, with your music it is always the full album… always.

  5. Allan April 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I tend mostly to listen to music either when I am driving or on the net these days, in my car I have every album/cd by Metallica, and some Motorhead Iron Maiden,Judas Priest and Joe Bonamassa I like my rock music when I am driving. When I am on the net doing stuff I tend to listen mostly Loreena McKennitt [my favourite ever singer what a voice] and other folk music really like Sinead O’Connor when she does traditional music, also check out Olivia Janye Newton a really good up and coming young singer/songwriter. Mustn’t forget your goodself Damh and a few others, like most folk our age who have experienced everything from Slade, Sex Pistols, Simon and Garfunkel, The Corries etc throughout our lives music is a wonderful thing with so many strains depending on your mood listening to an album can take you away on a magical tangent for an hour or two music truly is a gift from above.

  6. Sue April 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    Shuffle a Damh the Bard album ? NO, no, no no ! That’s almost obscene. It is designed, as you say as a whole, and should be enjoyed that way for maximum effect. Other peoples music I might shuffle big band maybe, or jazz, never yours.

  7. Char Lewis April 15, 2016 at 12:43 pm - Reply

    Growing up in a musical family, I’ve listened to music all my life, be it albums, 8-tracks, cassettes, cd”s or live music.
    When I was very young I would listen to my father play guitar while my mother would sing. Then I learned the piano at age 5, by air and at 11, I learned guitar by watching my father and older brothers play.
    Also my father had some old country music albums, and I grew up listening to them until my own musical taste developed.
    Then I discovered Rush, Boston, Uriah heep, Led Zeppelin, Peter Frampton, etc…
    I always played the albums from beginning to end, and that was my dream scape for the duration of the music.
    Then I discovered making compilation tapes in the 80’s, like you did back then, (lol) and I had quite an extensive collection of them.
    Now with iTunes it changes the game plan. Entire albums are available as are single tracks. I still prefer the entire album. Even on YouTube, there are entire albums which I love to play. Or maybe I’ll just pick up my guitar, or turn on my keyboard and play.
    There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t listen to, or play music. It is such a gift to listen to and, if you’re one of the lucky ones, to be able to play it yourself.

    • Patrick Smith April 17, 2016 at 12:50 pm - Reply

      PATRICK
      MUSIC HAS BEEN MY ONE DELIGHT AS A 5 YEAR OLD DURING THE WAR I WAS EVACUATED TO HAYWARDS HEATH WITH A FAMILY NAMED SMEDLEY THE LADY OF THE HOUSE HAD AN OLD WIND UP GRAMOPHONE
      SHE WAS A COUNTRY AND WESTON FAN SO I WAS BROUGHT UP ON ROY ROGERS GENE AUTRY I ALSO WAS IN THE QUIRE AT ST RICHARDS CHURCH SO I HAD A GREAT TIME MUCH LATER I WAS MOVED TO FERN HURST AND HAD MY INTRODUCTION HOGY CARMICHEL AND POP MUSIC STARDUST IS STILL MY ALL-TIME FAVOURITE TUNE AND NAT KING COLE MY FAVOURITE SINGER THOUGH SKIFFLE SOME JAZZ I LIKE WHEN VOICE MUSIC AND WORDS COME TOGETHER AS ONE AND YOU GET SWEPT ALONG AND TAKEN OUT OF YOUR SELF FOREIGNER I WANT TO KNOW WHAT LOVE IS SONGS OF THAT CALIBER SIMON AND GARFUNKEL SONGS THAT PAINT A PICTURE IN YOUR MIND JOHN DENVER

  8. Patricia April 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    It’s albums all the way with me but I’m old fashioned. I don’t have an iPod or MP3 and have never downloaded anything. I now rue the day that I took all my old vinyl to the tip (before ebay), now that it is back in fashion and I see all my old albums on sale in HMV for 10 times the price that I paid for them back in the day. I like to own the physical album and play it all the way through. I’m the same with books and films. My house is bursting at the seams.

    • Carrie Skinner April 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm - Reply

      Well, I was going to leave a comment but then read this one and there isn’t much different I would say. You must be my music twin, Patricia. I totally agree with everything you said. And yes, my house is also bursting at the seams!

  9. Frog April 15, 2016 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    For me, I think it’s a mix and depends heavily on the artist and album. Some only really work as an album (The Wall for example). But many albums seem to have “filler” tracks – they just seem to be of a lesser quality and last about one listen… and sometimes not even that (I am mindful that which track constitutes a filler could be a personal choice/opinion… others might consider it a hidden gem)
    So after the first listen I may then focus on independent tracks.

    As to whether the album is dead… I dont think that’s the case. I was surprised to see the physical format return, but we do live in an age where artists can now polish four or five tracks and get them out there faster than before (after all, for many artists the album is only the size they are to justify the actual press size of the record)

  10. Leonore April 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm - Reply

    This seems to be quite a topical discussion . I was listening to something on the radio this week that was exploring this .

    The general consensus is that buying albums is on the increase which, to me is such good news. You are so right in the ritual aspect of preparing to play it. Albums covers were works of art. …. some I had adorning the walls in my room in the nurses home all those years ago, especially memorable were some of the Yes covers.

    I like the sound of vinyl. It seems somehow warmer than CD. To me, the only down side was that you had to get up and turn it over every 15 -20 minutes ….. oh yes, and the very expensive mistake when I accidently sabotaged the diamond stylus on my husband’s deck …..

    • Dewi Hughes April 15, 2016 at 1:27 pm - Reply

      Yes! I was thinking exactly the same thing Leonore! I was listening to the radio (yesterday, I think it was) and there was a report that teenagers are starting to buy vinyl albums again, as a way of physically owning the music, and enjoying the artwork.

      The funny thing is, many of these people don’t even own a record player – they buy the vinyl album to own and the digital file to listen. Which hopefully means the artists are getting more money.

      I tend to listen to albums whole … Although I also listen to a lot of music on radio (e.g. Wyldwood Radio), which is almost like listening to it on shuffle.

  11. Garry Watts April 15, 2016 at 1:03 pm - Reply

    We come from the age of concept albums. Some modern music I’d prefer not to hear at all. Bubble gummy female screechers trying to pass an extremely stubborn constipation problem to inane meaningless words that anyone could write or bemoan about! No, not for me at all, that is not art! Thats why it has become broken up into small bits, none related and most worthless in view of art and creation. Just commercial pulp. I our day, more so mine I believe(born 1958) an album was a complete work of art, you would have difficulty responding to the tracks out of that albums concept even if their subject matter was different it was the over all tone, style of the album you were buying not just tracks. A work of Art with a capital A. You wouldnt want to view just one corner of the Mona Lisa or 2 minutes of the 1812 Overture would you. These young ones nowadays want everything fast and easy and in doing so miss the finer things that makes life quality. But its the providers that are the problem. Forcing this trend for money onto them. I dont view a download as a viable medium not like possessing the album in your hands. It gives you physical contact with that artist and brings them more intimately into your home.

  12. Brenna Adaira April 15, 2016 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    I often buy just single songs and listen to them on shuffle, it’s true. But I’ve also still bought my fair share of albums when I could- usually of musicians whom I greatly admire (your latest couple, along with some by David Bowie, and S.J. Tucker come to mind from recent purchases). When I buy new albums- even if they’re digitally purchased- I always set aside time to listen to them at least once all the way through: to get the story that was being told to me through the specific arrangement of the songs. Sure they might show up in shuffle, but I always start by listening to the entire thing, and even occasionally go back to do so multiple times at later dates.

  13. Danielle Britton April 15, 2016 at 1:16 pm - Reply

    Damh, I’m with you on this. Buying an LP, taking it home and listening to it in its entirety still gives me immense pleasure. I don’t think I’ll ever become tired of this. Cheers!

  14. Pete April 15, 2016 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    I remember performing the same ritual with my new albums. Then after I’d finished listening the first time round, if I was lucky enough to have the lyrics printed on the inner sleeve, I’d listen again following along with the lyrics. I like the idea of the album being a journey. It’s even a journey for the needle on the record player! The grooves take the needle by the hand and “carry” it throughout the journey that is the album. Then, at the end of each side, the album bids it a fond “farewell”, as the groove takes the needle to the end where it sits awaiting the next leg of the journey. Yes, I’ve pretty much made my album collection digital by buying the CD, but I still have all my old albums. For me, it’s like keeping photo albums full of memories. Cheers! πŸ™‚

  15. jamie April 15, 2016 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    I remember well listening to albums as a teen. But instead of it being a ritual I remember wishing there were easier ways to skip songs that I did not like as well as the other songs. You basically had to play the whole album or risk scratching it picking the needle up and moving it.

  16. Jerry Flaxfield April 15, 2016 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    I have it both ways. Like several above, when I acquire a new album (and I always buy *albums*, not tracks) I listen to the whole thing, start to finish. Day-to-day, I tend to set my mp3 player on shuffle, and listen to a variety. I love the unexpected juxtapositions that show up, and how remarkably seemingly disparate musics can “fit” next to each other.

    There are time when I do sit back and listen to whole albums, though.

    And, just for the record (!), my entire collection has been lovingly digitized so I can have it with me wherever I am. I don’t use any cloud services whatsoever, and have 5x-redundancy in my backup of the files. Can’t be too safe.

    – Jerry

  17. Kevin Rowan-Drewitt April 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    I always listen to a full album, especially in bed or the car. Having recorded many albums myself I know how important it is to get the running order right and as the listener one should respect that and listen to the album as the artist intended. There are strong signs that the vinyl album is making a comeback though – I was in Sainburys Weds and the first thing I saw was a stand of vinyl albums. Ok they were all classics like Rumours by Fleetwood Mac and Out of the Blue by ELO (not that I would listen to either of them!) but there they were. I still have all my vinyl albums and a record player (music centre) in my man cave (loft conversion which doubles as a home recording studio and sometimes spare bedroom) and when I’m up there stick an album on – currently London Calling by The Clash – 4 sides to listen to! See you at Pagancon Damh! Blessed Be

    • Linda Davis April 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm - Reply

      I heard on the radio this week that people are buying vinyl records but not listening to them. Whaaat?!

  18. The History Anorak April 15, 2016 at 1:39 pm - Reply

    I tend to agree. I can’t imagine listening to any Pink Floyd, Yes or ELP album out of sequence. But there is one thing that bothers me….. why on earth did you put On the Shoulders of Giants between Scarborough Faire and Iron From Stone on Sabbat? It just seems obvious to me that they should be together – then Giants should come after them. (And sorry – my copy of Sabbat is a download, so that’s the order they get played in.) πŸ˜‰

  19. Linda Davis April 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm - Reply

    I can still recall the smell of my first Dansette record player & the thrill of bringing home an LP!
    I have downloaded a few pieces heard on the radio, but mostly I buy cds, sometimes copying them to my tablet/phone as well. Just got two of yours for the hubby’s birthday & we could both enjoy listening to them.
    I like to see the artwork on the covers & read the sleeve notes, and the lyrics. It all enhances the experience.
    Same with books, having limited space, if it’s a read-once novel I would get it on my kindle, but for books to keep, especially illustrated ones, you can’t beat the real thing.

  20. Laura Capshaw April 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm - Reply

    If I have the CD, I listen to the album. If not, I let the IPod decide. But Damh brings up a point to ponder. When an artist records an album, it is in a purposeful way. He or she selects songs to go together, to create a theme. So that way there is meaning to the entire work of art. That art is broken up when we shuffle. And I admit that I shuffle a lot.
    So I’ll shuffle when my music is background while I work, listen to the album when I’m LISTENING to music.

  21. Joanne April 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    I tend to listen to music through Spotify these days, I definitely use it to find new music but then when I find an artist or album I like, I’ll listen to the whole discography as well once or twice and then add it to my ‘Everything’ playlist which I’ll usually have on shuffle, that way I come across lots of different songs from the artists I like.

    I also still love Radio and in particular Planet Rock on DAB because it has fantastic mix of old stuff and new stuff to challenge me, through them I’ve discovered Danko Jones, King King and Joe Bonamassa to name just three

    I will also buy the albums I really like, although I tend to buy alot of compilations as well these days just so I have stuff for DJ’ing with.

    Funnily enough over the last few days, I’ve been going through some of the albums of my youth to find the album tracks I really loved. I don’t think the album is dying, it’s evolving.

  22. Janie April 15, 2016 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    We don’t even own an iPod or other similar device; if we’re going to listen to music, be it in the car or at home, my husband selects a CD, checks with me that it meets my taste on that particular day, and we listen to it from start to finish.
    I don’t really get the “shuffle” thing – if I want something to buck be up (ok, WAKE me up) I’ll opt for something like Thin Lizzy – if I want soothing, perhaps I’ll go for the beautiful wolf voices on “Even Wolves Dream”; if I’m feeling a tad down and disconnected, I’ll opt for your own “Herne’s Apprentice”. But to have an eclectic mix of totally unrelated songs and not even know what you’re going to hear next seems very strange to me.

  23. Erik April 15, 2016 at 2:55 pm - Reply

    You missed out an option on your poll… I love to listen through full albums, but I am also an inveterate playlist-maker (as far back as high school in the very early 80s, when we still made actual mix tapes). I make lists for themes, moods, and to tell stories.

    I have been known to use shuffle as a sort of divination (shufflemancy?), in the same way I use tarot – as a tool and a key to viewing a situation in a different light. Pick a song that represents the query, and then let the iPod do its work.

  24. Suzanne Evans April 15, 2016 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    I’m definitely an album person. I do have favourite songs and create playlists of my own and I do love digital format for it’s ease of purchase and instant availability. It’s only downfall would be the missing artwork. However Damh the album is definitely not dying. Like you say who would ever dream of shuffling the albums “The Wall ” by Pink Floyd or “Tommy” by The Who or the masterpiece “Rainbow – Rising “. Even today there are albums out there that have to be listened to from beginning to end such as “Imaginaerum ” and ” Endless Forms Most Beautful ” by the amazing Nightwish. They each tell a story and just like a bard’s tale must be heard from the start and played right through to the end. I am so looking forward to your new albums on The Mabinogion and when there are brilliant and talented musicians like yourself continuing to make music who can say that the album is dying ? Definitely not me.

  25. Bran Cerddorion April 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm - Reply

    It’s all about the flow from one track to the other. Full album all the way. Sure, I have different playlists like my “pagan music” playlist that I’ll shuffle sometimes if I’m at work if I need some variety, but the best musical experience comes from listening to an album from beginning to end.

    You can tell when a track listing on an album was put together purposefully. I notice it a lot with your albums, Damh, and also pretty obviously with one of my favorite bands, Magnum. The opening track eases you into the world of the album and gets you hooked, the rest of the songs lead you through a journey that will vary from album to album, but always ultimately leading you to the last track: the big finale. This one always leaves me very satisfied and wanting more.

    It doesn’t surprise me that the album is becoming a thing of the past, but I also don’t believe that it’s happening like that. At least I hope not.

  26. bish April 15, 2016 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    I guess I’ve gone through phases, and come full circle. I utterly resonate with your post, Damh, and remember buying DSOTM myself. Life changing? Yeah, that’s not ridiculous to say. Nowadays my entire music collection is on the network server and I don’t even have a cd player much less a turntable. I miss that, but the advantages of digital music outweigh the loss. Mostly. But when first I put my music collection (no Slayer but nearly ever Fairport album and lots of the solo stuff) into my cloud I was shuffling tracks randomly. It was fun, but I too had that revelatory moment when a concept album got broken into pieces by shuffle. I stills shuffle from time to time, but I shuffle whole albums. That way, I get the unexpected wonders, but all of them not bits. Hey, every now and then a Damh album comes up…!

  27. Allison April 15, 2016 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Always listen to a full album, starting by choosing which one I want to listen to and listening to it from start to finish. I don’t have an i-pod, mp3 player, laptop, smartphone or tablet so my cd player is important to me. Perhaps if I had any of the before mentioned devices I might create a playlist of favourite songs and music but don’t feel the need to. Today’s world is so full of ‘sound bites’ and instant entertainment, but I like the journey and the long play – ultimately more satisfying.

  28. Woodland Bard April 15, 2016 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    Strange to say, as an old fart myself, but with most albums I have bought, very few I enjoy right through. In the vinyl days I wished I could skip tracks but aware of potential damage to stylus and record if I did. What a blessing cassette tapes were, the first ability to choose favourite tracks and put them onto cassette, then the CDRs amazing and now this loose digital stuff.

    Recorded music as a product is still a new industry really, I suppose, in relation to our time as poets, bards and musicians. For awhile, Vinyl LPs were blamed for less people going to live music as they could now have it at home … but today we have videos and YouTube doing this more.

    That’s the other thing, at the time of Vinyl LPs we had limited radio choices, very little music on TV, no videos yet, no internet … barely any distractions from our music playing and imagination running wild by the cover art.

    Now, soon we will be moving on to VR Virtual Reality, and leapfrogging that to AR, Augmented Reality, and creating a shadow of live performance all around us. Its not just artwork or video screen any more.

    Thank the spirits for us still arranging and attending Bards In The Woods to keep a foot in the origins … πŸ™‚

  29. Weather Wytch April 15, 2016 at 4:48 pm - Reply

    Don’t forget Dark Side came with a couple of stickers and a poster too and you can’t get extras like that with a download. In some respects I agree that the option to shuffle or Spotify apparently means that ‘albums’ now rarely have much thought given to the progression from one track to the next. Dark Side would be a very different thing if the tracks were in another order but not necessarily any less in content. However, had Shine on You Crazy Diamond not opened Wish You Were Here that would have been a monumental mistake and The Wall (also with an extra sleeve insert) is a disaster on shuffle. There is a great story that U2 had endlessly debated the running order for the Joshu Tree with no agreement. However Kirsty McColl was on tour with them and went through the tracks and came up with the running order and everyone went, ‘That’s it’. It’s not only albums, if you go to a function these days with a ‘disco’ then the DJ has his playlist already set up for the whole 4 hours irrespective of whether people are enjoying the music. I still occasionally get behind the desk at a function and I love the experience of interacting with the audience and suddenly finding I’m 20 seconds off a track ending and what I have queued next is not what should be playing next and that rush to try and find the track I want instead.

  30. Nan April 15, 2016 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    Very much an album player except when I’m learning a trad tune. Then I play the same tune over and over. Pretty much all my music now is on the computer for space sake but I still always look up and save the liner notes and love listening to the flow and nuance of a well thought album. The very best way to experience music is live though, whether listening or playing. Many thanks to you Damh for inspiring me to start back on my own musical journey

  31. Mary B April 16, 2016 at 12:10 am - Reply

    Oh I loved an old gatefold sleeve! As a teenager in the seventies and a manager of an independent record shop in the early eighties vinyl played a huge part in my life and yes I listened to albums all the way through but that’s all we had then, except for those terrible compilation LPs of cover versions

    Nowadays the vinyl is in the loft & I don’t even play CDs that often but you still can’t get everything on iTunes/Spotify.

    Playlists are my preference & I have loads made up & pick them to suit my mood but I still listen to some albums all the way through & I get what you mean about following the flow of an album & that’s something I’ll get back to now that you’ve put that on my radar again.

    Shuffle is another matter & I don’t use it that much but it’s sometimes fun to be walking along the street listening to some PJ Harvey, a bit of Zep then Gong followed by Slade, Dick Gaughan & a guided meditation for afters

  32. Tim Andrews April 16, 2016 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    This blog is very similar to one Gary Numan put out a couple of weeks ago as part of a recent interview he did. He made very similar points about how a single track can in no way represent a whole album, whether that album is a concept or not. Digital streaming and the ability to have thousands of songs all in one place is still relatively new and both the providers and the listeners are still working out what to do with it.

    Mainstream will probably go with individual tracks for a while, but those outside of that, the Fairport to Slayer fans et al, have already decided to stick to the album, but vary it. I listen to partial albums on my iPod when I’m on the bus, but whole albums, and mostly on vinyl at all other times. In ome respects this has always been the case. Prior to Spotify etc there was the radio and Top of the Pops.

    Yes, music now is less important than it was and budgets to make an album are a fraction of what they are, but then far more musicians like Damh the Bard are having an impact with great sounding albums produced at a much lower cost.

    I am generally optimistic about the future of music. Will bands be as big again as U2, Iron Maiden and Metallica? But will they be as good? Most certainly.

    Now just imagine if Damh’s next album came out on vinyl!!

  33. Michael Disabato April 16, 2016 at 8:59 pm - Reply

    Albums are musical books. They tell a story from start to finish. I always listen to the complete album when I first get it. Then, unlike a book, I take the chapters (tracks) and often create another book to suit my mood or to create a certain mood. But while each song may be fit into my creation, it is still part of the original whole. Dahm, Loreena McKennitt, and many other create these sonic landscapes for us to enjoy. And I am forever grateful to them for it.

    Michael

  34. John Chambers April 16, 2016 at 11:41 pm - Reply

    I don’t think albums were ever random collections of songs, and I think it behooves the listener to to play it through several times to try to get a sense of what the artist was trying to do. You may have a fave track on an album, but a lot of the time it doesn’t sound right taken out of context.

  35. Craig April 17, 2016 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    I have bought more albums this year than the last ten. But if you look on my play list I have a lot of songs from popular 80s bands and none of them are the top 40 songs the band is known for. They are the “flip” side the one that the only way you.got to hear these wonderful magical songs was to buy the album and listen to the whole thing.

  36. Ruth April 18, 2016 at 2:56 am - Reply

    I miss album cover art, especially for a double disc album… YES especially… I miss lyrics and liner notes and lengthy credits in a font you can read without a microscope. And no matter how much I hated a song/track… I usually toughed it out or just turned the volume down till it passed ‘cuz it seemed disrespectful to “skip it”.

  37. K Green April 18, 2016 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    WOW!! What a great post to your blog Damh!!

    Not only am I a druidic pagan of roughly the same era, but I’m a huge Floyd fan (and have been all my life, and have also been a huge vinyl fan, all my life! I never stopped being a vinyl collector. I have a huge near mint collection in a converted studio/’music room’, kept air conditioned in summer months. My Technics turntable has never stopped turning (metaphorically speaking) since 1984, and I have remained faithful to real analogue audio consistantly, so I admit that I may not be the best person to comment on the apparent ‘disappearence’ of vinyl. I’m spinning some Mike Oldfield as I type this in fact. We serious collectors know where to go for those special grooves and crisp genuine dustcovers!

    It’s great to read your words on how very sentimental, special and sensual the whole vinyl record experience should be, or in my case, still is. But of course Damh, you do speak alot of truth about the bigger picture of vinyl these days, as there just aren’t as many reliable outlets and traders as there used to be. I personally, have NEVER liked the whole technological concept of MP3 download music files, as for one thing, they are not REAL media, and for another, they are nothing more than a highly compressed form of convinient media, that lacks all sound quality and definition no matter how high the quality of the system you play them back through. (I have a quality 16 channel mixing desk, pro cabling and lovely old wooden speaker cabs, and MP3 STILL sounds bad through them!

    Music is an artform first and foremost, which is why cover art and even inner sleeve art in some cases, is a very important part of the whole experience. It really is a sad shame that so many modern ‘artists’ these days do not bother with presenting any art with their digital downloads. It’s a bit like going to a gallery of art to see paintings without any frames.

    But there are MANY vinyl record fairs taking place every month (or at least they are, here in the UK) packed with all kinds of treats, although sometimes you will pay extra for near mint condition vinyls. For better value deals, there are plenty of independent record shops around if you know where to look. I’m writing this just two days after “record shop day”, a nation wide day that attracts vinyl collectors to such shops like bees to honey, or we druidic blokes to the sun!

    Amazing but true, I was a dance music DJ (with a Pendragon connection!) for about 10 years, and even today I am surprised by just how many people are totally unaware that the dance music industry has been more heavily pro-vinyl than anyone else, with more dance music pressed to vinyl than even classical (true fact!) with spinning vinyl powering nightclubs and parties up and down the land for many lucrative years. But whatever your style or taste in music, I do not see why anyone cannot enjoy the experience of real analogue vinyl even today, if only they seek out local record fairs and dive in the fun!

    A quick tip from ye wise here… check the condition carefully, of both vinyl and cover, before you buy. Play before you buy if possible.

    DAMH, I am curious to ask you, why it is that none of your superb albums, have been pressed to vinyl?? I’m looking forward to hearing the forthcoming ‘GREEN ALBUM’!

    Naturally!
    Awen!

  38. Brendan Leber April 20, 2016 at 5:52 am - Reply

    It really depends. Some “albums” are just a collection of slightly related songs. Some are really just one long composition, say Steven Wilson or Ayreon. So it depends on what I’m listening to on whether I listen to shuffled tracks or shuffled albums.

    Also, I like to build playlists of what musicians played at a concert I’ve attended. That way I can sit back and hear the same songs and remember the fun of the event again.

  39. Dave O. April 26, 2016 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    I, too, miss the ritual of playing a vinyl albums. There’s nothing like perusing those large covers, liner notes, etc. while listening to the rich tones coming through the stereo speakers. CD’s just don’t do it for me – even the most elaborate packaging/booklets/etc. isn’t the same as holding those big album covers. Most of my music now-a-days is digital. I like the control I have on my Ipod. One thing I like to do (like I know better, right?) is rearrange the track lists of some albums to a (what seems to me) more sensible order, and even adding or subtracting tracks. For instance, I added Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever to the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s album. Penny Lane I stuck in after Mr. Kite and I put Strawberry Fields between Within You, Without You and When I’m Sixty-Four (the transition between those two songs always seemed a little awkward to me). I may at some point invest in a good turntable and some vinyl, but for now it’s digital albums.

  40. Paul Topham April 27, 2016 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    I’ve been playing Love’s Forever changes album all the time in the car, start to finish because that’s how the artist’s intended. Vinyl is coming back in a big way and my record collection has begun to expand again! I have downloaded songs for the phone or a blank CD for the car which is mainly how I get to listen to my music these days. I should also share my obsessive love for the Beatles and sixties pyschedelia, as well as blues, folk rock jazz, swing, classical and opera. Most of my stuff is now on CD, but the original stuff is on vinyl. I’ve doubled up on Beatles and rock. Not sure most of my tapes still work. I’ve been collecting for a long time now. Sgt Pepper does not sound as good on CD as it does on vinyl oddly thanks to digital restoration showing up the cracks. CDs are more portable for the car for me

  41. Debbie from Michigan March 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm - Reply

    I buy full cd’s most of the time, on occasion I have purchased only a particular song but not usually. I also prefer the entire experience of a full album, the artwork the liner notes, etc. Too much has gone by the wayside and I hope the album never does. I also am old fashioned, I want to see and hold the record or music cd, I do not have an MP3 nor ipod nor cell phone, I do on occasion make my own cd music mixes but this is not the norm.

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