Tag: music (page 2 of 6)

Are we in a post-album era for music?

One of the downsides of getting older is that things you took to be sacred all of a sudden seem to be obsolete. For example, music albums, which have always been a part of my life, seem to now be referred to in the past tense?

There’s a whole Wikipedia article on the ‘album era’ so… it must be true.

The album era was a period in English-language popular music from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s in which the album was the dominant form of recorded music expression and consumption. It was primarily driven by three successive music recording formats: the 33⅓ rpm long-playing record (LP), the audiocassette, and the compact disc. Rock musicians from the US and the UK were often at the forefront of the era, which is sometimes called the album-rock era in reference to their sphere of influence and activity. The term “album era” is also used to refer to the marketing and aesthetic period surrounding a recording artist’s album release.

Source: Album era | Wikipedia

Upgrading an iPod Video for use in 2022

I’m an OG when it comes to MP3 players, having owned an Archos MP3 Jukebox while I was at uni in about 2001. It was ridiculously expensive for me as a student, but I was working at HMV at the time, and I was (and still am!) really into music.

In the end, I ‘upgraded’ the battery in it and managed to melt the entire thing, then switched to Spotify for all of my music in 2009. But there’s definitely part of me that wants to get back to what I would consider ‘real’ music listening.

While I do have plenty of MP3s and FLAC files on my smartphone, there’s just something about having a separate device for music. And you don’t get more iconic than an iPod. So this project is super-cool and once again has me thinking…

See also: How To Enjoy Your Own Digital Music

See also: ListenBrainz

I realised something not so long ago – I was being very lazy. I’d often just play my weekly/daily mix, or some playlist I made up a long time ago. I’d never really think about what music I liked + what music I wanted to listen to. I think this is in part due to the fact that almost any music was available – which made choosing even more difficult.

Anyway. Over the weekend I took apart a 5.5th gen iPod Classic (or iPod Video) and made it suit 2022 a little better 😀

Source: Building an iPod for 2022 | Ellie.wtf

The album is no longer the unit of musical currency

I’m sitting listening to the new Kings of Convenience album while writing this. As this article points out, listening to albums is an increasingly unlikely thing to in the era of streaming music services.

This isn’t accidental: it’s easy to hop between services when the unit of currency is an ‘album’. But when it’s a regularly-updated playlist that’s only available on a particular platform (e.g. Spotify) that’s a different proposition altogether.

To help listeners find their way in the endless aisles of digital music, streaming providers created playlists — but this new way of listening has created unintended consequences for artists and songwriters. Today, three services make up two-thirds of the streaming economy: Spotify, which has an estimated 32 percent of the market, Apple Music (18 percent), and Amazon Music (14 percent). But Spotify dominates the conversation both because of its market power and its immensely popular playlists. In 2017, 68 percent of all listening on Spotify was from a company or user playlist, according to the company’s 2018 Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Its platform has more than 4 billion playlists, 3,000 of which are owned by Spotify, curated by a mix of algorithms and editors.

Its most prominent playlists have serious cultural power. RapCaviar shapes the sound of hip-hop, and can turn indie rappers into household names. The genre-agnostic, slightly quirky playlist Lorem curates the vibe for Spotify’s Gen Z listeners. In 2020, listeners ages 16 to 40 used playlists as their primary source for discovering new music on the platform, according to the company. So today, a placement atop one of its playlists can make or break a song.

Spotify isn’t shy about the marketing power of its playlists. In its SEC filing, the company wrote as much, crediting Lorde’s breakout global success to her placement on a single playlist: Sean Parker’s Hipster International. But her example may be an outlier. The challenge for most artists is that playlist listeners frequently don’t know who they’re listening to. A song with high completion rates on a playlist might end up on more playlists, accumulating millions of streams for an artist who remains effectively nameless. In the best-case scenario, these streams, which pay very low royalties compared to radio, could help land the song a coveted advertisement, or better yet, pique the attention of Top 40 radio programmers.

Source: How streaming made hit songs more important than the pop stars who sing them | Vox