Thursday, August 12, 2010

Full Length Recording Cycles

In a recent article on Noise Creep, Rob Zombie was quoted saying "I like the thought of the band writing, say, one song a month and putting it up there," Zombie said. "Say we've been on tour for six or eight months and we don't have time to stop and make a whole album. It would be cool to put out two or three songs we've written and then keep going just to keep it energized. And truthfully, when you make a new album ... you go, 'OK here's 11 new songs, five of which we'll never play live. And here's the two or three singles that will always be in the set.' So it could just be a different way to do business that's really sort of like the old way of doing things. Back in the '50s and '60s people weren't making albums, they were pressing singles and then an album was basically a collection of all the singles."

This is not a new concept. I have been having discussions with friends for years regarding this topic and have touched on this concept before on The White Light. Aside from having a full length CD available to sell at your shows or as special editions or to get your music on Pandora (another topic altogether,) is the full length CD cycle nearing extincton? My take is this...

In my humble opinion, releasing songs as you get them done is what bands should be doing. With all the shit being thrown at us (much by our own design) digitally and otherwise on a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly basis, we have the attention spans of toddlers. I still buy full download albums but will tell you, even when I bought CD's, I spend about 2 or 3 weeks with a new album before I am off to the next thing. Now factor in that there may only be half of that album that I think is worth a shit. In the best case of course I will continually listen down the entire collection but sooner than later, I am on to the next thing. Because of aforementioned shit being thrown at me (again, much of it by my own design,) the next band, song or video is just a mouse click away. 

Close your eyes. Check that. You can't read with your eyes closed. Now, think of your favorite band. Would you visit the band's website/facebook/myspace/youtube/twitter etc. far more often if the band was releasing material in monthly or bi-monthly cycles? Now think of how your fans would react to this. Music is the core content on the web for your band (unless you are OK GO but that is another topic altogether.) Do you think you would see a larger retention of your fan's attention and see them visit you far more often if this was a strategy that you used to fight the shit? 


  1. I listen to a lot of music from Japan, and there the focus is on releasing singles rather than albums. They will release multiple singles and then release an album with a couple new songs later on. They also turn out albums extremely quickly. I know bands that release them once every year or two years. So when I got back into American music I was really disappointed that there was so much time in between new material. I don't think the album-every-year thing is a good idea either, but I would definitely rather wait months for a single's worth of songs than wait years for an album's worth.

  2. I've noticed since the whole 'internet-destroyed-the-music-industry' thing that bands are releasing albums way more often. The problem is though that you can usually hear how much less work has gone into them. I think it would be a good thing for artists to work on a song till they're happy with it, release it, then repeat the process. Over time it would be really interesting to hear how a particular band's sound evolved with each song.

    I appreciate that an album can be a piece of art in itself, but I think releasing albums is going to get old very quickly.

  3. That's an interesting take on things. In fact, I really like that idea.

    Thanks for the inspiration!