I was reminded the other day of how many great albums were released in 1994. In no particular order of preference, they included:
- Beastie Boys – Ill Communication
- Jeff Buckley – Grace
- The Prodigy – Music For The Jilted Generation
- Oasis – Definitely Maybe
- Weezer – Weezer
- R.E.M. – Monster
- Portishead – Dummy
- Green Day – Dookie
- Manic Street Preachers – The Holy Bible
- Blur – Parklife
- Soundgarden – Superunknown
- Pearl Jam – Vitalogy
- Nine Inch Nails – The Downward Spiral
In 1994, I’d have had to collect those albums on CD and, although I could listen to individual tracks, would more likely listen to the music from first to last.
In 2019 we now stream tracks online in playlists. As a result, artists are producing 20 song albums to encourage more plays, and tracks have shorter intros to encourage people to avoid skipping them. Physical examples are sold in vinyl and CD, but the album format has become more of a way to just package songs together. People can – and do – listen to them in any order.
25 years ago I was designing learning activity based on face to face with a bit of digital. In 2019 should we be designing albums or playlists? And are people skipping your tracks?