165: The Day The Music (Album) Died?

A few weeks ago me and a group of friends stood outside church and discussed “What was the last album you bought?”. I really had to think – what was the last album I bought. At the time the last album was Ben Howard, Mumford and Sons or Disney (except Disney was bought for me) but they were all digital downloads rather than physical CDs. I think I only listen to CDs in the car now (because I can’t get my iPhone to play music through my stereo without lots of wires and interference).

I wracked my brain some more – what was the last physical CD that I purchased. I think the conclusion that I came to was that it could have been Deleted Scenes From The Cutting Room Floor by Caro Emerald – but then that’s been in my car for ages (I don’t actually remember not having it in my car). Then it could be Don’t Look Down by Cerys Matthews but that’s been in there for over a year now (After I saw her play at Milton Keynes Stables – she was amazing!).

I tend to select the tracks I like – for example on my current Recently Added play list it goes something like……

We Are Young by Fun (feat. Janelle Monáe)

Shake It Out by Glee

This Kiss (feat. Carrie Hope Fletcher)

I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) by Meatloaf

Find You On My Knees by Kari Jobe

So why am I writing about this – and why now. There’s a guy called Alex Day aka Nerimon. He’s been on YouTube for years but has recently been turning the music chart upside down when he made it to Number 4 in the Christmas chart in 2011 without being tied to a record label and pretty much by fan power I think!  He then went on to make it to Number 15 with his next song Lady Godiva in April 2012. He’s now shaking it up some more by releasing three singles all on the same day – which is completely different to what a record label would suggest to do. Then again with some singles hanging around for weeks and weeks it’s possible for some artists (like Lady Gaga and Adele for example) to chart multiple times even though the songs were released weeks (or months apart). Also with talent shows like X Factor and The Voice covering “older” songs the originals and the covers then make it into the chart again (what’s funniest in my opinion is when the original charts higher than the cover or higher than it did the first time round). He’s even managed to have two appearances on the Forbes Magazine website twice this week (Article 1, Article 2).

So I’m posing this question (if it hasn’t already been else where). Is the physical CD album dying? I’ve chatted to people about no longer purchasing CD singles because they were £4-5 for 3 or 4 tracks when I could wait for a 12 track album for £8-10 and now I can just cherry pick the tracks that I’m actually going to listen to rather than skip. It annoys Chris on road trips that I’ll just play one or two songs and then flick onto the next CD (which probably explains why I seem to drive most of the time because it’s preoccupying me!)

How about record labels – if you can launch a career without being tied to a major label will we see smaller independent labels pop up here and there. How easy (or hard) is it to set up your own record company? Then again maybe you record your own songs and covers and stick it out there on YouTube and see what happens. I’ve recorded a couple of covers but I get more feedback singing at the local Open Mic Night. (I do keep meaning to take my camera with me and try and record some up to date covers lol).

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