Is the Album Really Dying?

By Kieran Webber

Facts and figures do not lie and it is clear that album sales have decreased. A lot. But who is to blame, the artists, the consumer or the music industry itself?

Album sales overall yet again took a decrease, a decrease of 6.4%, the total being 94 million averaging out at 1.49 albums bought by each Briton. This is believed to be because of the accessibility of digital and streaming sites such as Spotify, which has accumulated a wealth of £103 million to the UK music industry.

But to contradict this was the rapid increase of vinyl sales in 2013, vinyl saw an increase of 101% compared to 2012′s sales. A staggering 780,000 units were sold in 2013 the highest amount since 1997 which saw 817,000 units sold, the highest amount in 15 years.

Not a massive amount in the scale of things but still a welcomed acheivement.

Arctic Monkeys – AM was the most popular vinyl of 2013

So is the album format dying? No, I don’t believe it to be. The increase of vinyl shows that it is stabilizing out with the introduction of streaming. However, the music industry has a lot to answer for when it comes to the decline of album sales, artists for the past ten years have followed a similiar formula of singer/songwriter (Sometimes debatable on the writing side). The problem is that artists are being moulded to release one strong single and the album to be mundane, and this seems to be acceptable. So is it any wonder that the album format is “dying?”

The music industry should be supporting independent artists : putting the money into musicians that can actually produce strong albums. When looking at the top 5 albums sold last year one has to think past the single released and wonder why the album doesn’t get much mention. Often the only strong track is the single or, in some cases, the singles.

  1. Emeli Sande – Our Version of Events
  2. Adele – 21
  3. Ed Sheeran – +
  4. Lana Del Rey – Born To Die
  5. One Direction – Up All Night

The album chart reflects the singles era of musicians that have taken the mainstream by force, leaving the real artists in the shadow, the artists that produce their music, write the music and perform their own music. This said these artists that do sit in this catogory are comfortable in their sub culture and have a very strong fan base.

So it is not all doom and gloom for the album industry or the music industry as a whole, people are waking up to the plastic and see-through artists that do dominate the charts. Vinyl is constantly increasing and streaming sites allow instant access to millions of fantastic artists. There is a change happening and a good one : no longer will we have to base what we listen to on what is in the charts or what sold the most.

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