Katy Perry’s ‘Prism’ a Good Example of How Albums Don’t Work Anymore

Katy Perry

Media cannot be limited to the album release date. It must be a 24/7, 365-day-a-year effort

The album is dying in front of our very eyes.

In other words, what kind of screwed up world do we live in where Katy Perry’s new album “Prism” sells only 287,000 copies in its debut? One in which everybody’s interested in the single, and no one’s got time to sit and hear your hour-plus statement.

This is not emotion, this is statistics. The shelf life of news is shorter than ever. The shelf life of art. … You blink and it’s done.

I’m fine with you preaching to the choir, making an album for your fans. You gotta go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do. But if your plan is to increase your audience, spread the word and make money, suddenly the album just isn’t working anymore. The youngsters are streaming singles and the oldsters are staying home.

How do I know? Elton’s album isn’t even in the top 50, and McCartney’s album barely broke 20,000 this week, and there wasn’t a better oldster hype than for these two projects. People just don’t want ’em.

So what’s the industry to do? Have a rethink.

In other words, hype doesn’t work.

No one had more hype than Miley Cyrus, but “Bangerz” didn’t even sell 45,000 copies in its fourth week of release. She can go on “SNL,” tweet her life away, but it’s not moving the needle. Lorde is selling as much as Miley without the benefit of scorched earth, proving quality music is as good as hype. But Lorde isn’t burning up the chart either.

We’ve turned into a nation of grazers. And the artist’s job is to constantly be at the smorgasbord. Not to deliver one big meal that is picked at and thrown away, but to constantly provide tantalizing bites to the public.

Media cannot be limited to the album release date. It must be a 24/7, 365-day-a-year effort. Same with creativity. If your track gets traction, more power to you. If it doesn’t, go back in the studio and make more. In other words, if you’re sitting at home bitching that you’re not making any money because the Internet stole your business, you’re RIGHT! There are so many diversions that no one’s got time for mediocre anymore.

If you’ve got a concept album, go ahead and record it. If you’re only interested in selling a little, be my guest. But if you want to penetrate the consciousness of a large group of people and grow the pie, an album isn’t working. Hell, it’s not even working as a revenue model!

Labels are no longer in the record business, they’re in the star business. How to maximize the revenue of an individual or band in as many media as possible, in as many ways as possible. Yes, while you were bitching about piracy, your whole business model disappeared.

You put out these albums, and in almost every case, the public moves on in a matter of WEEKS. A few bought it, they heard it, and they’re satisfied — and left waiting for years until you grace them with a new release. The rest of the public is just waiting for a hit single to burble, and if it does, they’ll tap their toes and snap their fi ngers and ask, “WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT?” And what you’ve got had better be just as good as the hit.

No one wants album tracks anymore unless they’re every bit as satisfying as the hit.

So it’s not only classic rock acts who have stopped putting out albums; eventually, no one will do it. Oh, it won’t be soon, because artists think making albums is part of their DNA, going into the studio and making a 10-track statement.

But that’s like saying typewriters have to be an office fixture. And you can’t post online unless you write in multiple paragraphs. And texting must be abandoned because it’s not in-depth enough.

The goal of a musician is to be AHEAD of the audience. Right now everybody’s behind.

Read more Bob Lefsetz columns at Lefsetz.com.

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    1. Nathaniel says:

      The music business is dead. Long live music.

    2. Personally, I’m not waiting for the next hit to be churned out by the major labels! While record labels are busy dictating to radio stations which songs are going to be played 70 times a week to the dwindling numbers of radio listeners, people like myself are listening to everything else! Some of us take the time to seek out music from artists that we like and follow along to new projects from some of these artists that don’t get record label or radio support. We now have the freedom to listen through websites, cell phones and iPods. If I see a band live and the price is fair for a cd, then I will buy it! $10 bucks cool, $15 bucks forget it! Same with downloading music, give it up for a fair price, you have now cut out the costs of cd packaging, shipping, and having to promote in magazines, radio and tv. Throw a fair price and the masses will buy it or risk having your music pirated! Yes, we know you have to pay for production, but you seriously don’t need to spend a ridiculous amount to have great songs or a great album!

    3. mojoyeah says:

      Katy Perry’s “One Of The Boys” sold only 47,000 copies in it’s first week and went on to sell 1.5 million copies ever since. “Teenage Dreams” sold 192,000 copies in it’s first week and went on to sell over 2,782,000 copies after that in the US alone. So, when “Prism” sells 286,000 copies in it’s first week (almost 1.5 times what the last album did), can someone explain to me how Katy Perry’s album is a good example of how albums aren’t working? I don’t follow the logic here.

    4. george grenier says:

      Guess whoever wrote this didn’t hear of Adele’s 21 lol . It’s not about the format . It’s about the crappy music they put out and the fact that everything sounds the same.

    5. Lorenzo Zirilli says:

      I think that from a label-executive standpoint the article is spot on. If you’re looking for an immediate reward in pop music the album format is undoubtly suffering. But from the artist perspective, especially in rock music, making a good album is still the best way to grant an enduring source of earnings. Good albums keep selling even decades after their release (check out Amazon, Dark Side Of the moon holds several spots in the top sellers chart), whereas single have a way shorter, altough more profitable, lifespan. If you write several good singles in a row you may look at a good immediate reward (and executives will be happy), but in the long run, producing a relevant cohesive and exstensive work (a.k.a. a memorable LP) is still the best substitute to a pension.

    6. David Bemis says:

      or maybe her music is cotton candy in a world that wants meat.

    7. Hanna Silver says:

      Wow, REALLY interesting take, ahead of the rest of us. I appreciate it.

    8. Reading this discussion elucidates why Bob’s blog always has its comments disabled. There’s only a handful of people who really understand the music industry circa now — even among those working in it. Bob is one of the handful, and he writes about it better than anyone.

    9. I still prefer albums – if they are good. And that is the catch. You can’t just have two good songs on an entire album anymore and think it will sell. That’s probably a good thing. I can’t tell you how many crappy 33 rpm records I had where I only wanted two songs. In fact, just bought an old album from the 70’s and I already had the hit single. But on the flip side, there really are fewer albums like that these days, imho. And it still is a better deal to purchase the whole thing if it’s good. I agree about the model disappearing while they were complaining about piracy. Instead of recreating and rising to the challenge, they just alienated people.

    10. Keoki Sing says:

      Don’t know what all the fuss is about? Japan (as well as a few other asian markets) has had this model for decades where the single is “King” and albums are more of a “Greatest Hits” of recent singles than a true “concept” album. The digital age just made it easier for the rest of the world to catch up.

      Personally I like the idea as artists can reap rewards faster and at a lower cost with just releasing singles. This also has the added benefit of maybe cutting out record companies as production on a single is probably much easier for an artist to fund themselves than an album. So they could get away with no backing from your traditional Record Company except for maybe promotion? But with other digital means for artists like social media for promotion even that is debatable.

    11. Nick McGowan says:

      If the album is a quality album… people will buy it. However, it is “human” to travel the path of least resistance. If someone can download an album rather than pay for it then why spend hard earned money? Most people outside of the realm of being a touring musician, present or past, understand it takes hard work and money to make an album but they don’t see the support factor involved with purchasing the album.

      I think some of this comes down to the artist as well… they are too hungry to sell, sell, sell rather than increasing the happiness of their fans. If we were to give product away, even at a taste. We can reap benefits on the back end from merch and other means.

      Why would someone buy anything from you if they feel like it’s a rip off or not as valuable as you say it is. Example… I can buy an album from a favorite band for $10 or I can download it for free…. but if there was a chance to have an interaction with them or something that was more than just “the sale”… that’s worth 10 fold what the sticker price is and I’ll pay a lot more than your 10 dollars if I feel it’s worth it to ME, NOT you.

      If you had your choice, as a musician, to sell someone something now for the price designated or sell it cheaper, or even give it away, to have them as a consumer of other things, fan for life and most importantly a follower who will spread the word thus saving you marketing dollars, time, energy and pounding the streets…. what choice would you make?

    12. nanananananananapuz says:

      Oh cool – another article bemoaning the death of albums whilst only mentioning major label artists – many of whom have been pumping out throwaway singles for decades while releasing albums with 90% filler bullshit at the low low price of $15.99. One could argue that Albums are actually stronger now than they have ever been. The writer just comes off as really out of touch with how the music industry in 2013 is operating. Let the major labels die – we don’t need them and it is becoming abundantly clear that they will all soon go the way of the dinsoaurs.

    13. mmccormick10 says:

      This article is complete bullshit. How can you say albums are dead? Maybe they are for you Katy Perry singles listeners, but any legitimate fan of music will forever love the album. I don’t care what the statistics say, they’re biased. With the technology such as music streaming services, it’s obvious numbers are going to change. In the past, you didn’t have a choice but the buy the full album. Now that you can just buy singles, the numbers have changed, but that doesn’t mean albums are dead. Fuck the numbers, Sir Paul McCartney and Lady Gaga should never even be mentioned in the same article. Why are McCartney’s numbers lower? Because his fans don’t have Spotify on their phones! Whether it’s the physical or digit, they are buying the ALBUM.

    14. Cris says:

      oh my hell! you hit the nail on the head, good sir!!! this is the most informative article on the “industry” i’ve read in decades! seriously!

    15. DanZee says:

      Wow! A lot of people didn’t seem to get the point of the article, based on the comments here. But I think you’re absolutely correct. The old model of recording an album for a year, spending a year on tour promoting the album, and then taking a year off just doesn’t work anymore. A good point is Rihanna. She’s been releasing single after single for years to keep in front of the public’s eye, but her record company has been making her pay for her own production costs because it wants albums, not singles, and it only wants them every 2-3 years, not every year. The Internet is forcing musicians to go back to the 1950s-1960s where artists released 2-4 albums a year and singles throughout the year. (The Ventures released 40 albums in 10 years, and the Beatles released 12 studio albums in 7 years.) The Internet favors singles, but the record industry is fighting that because albums generated all the profits. But it’s plainly obvious, the old system no longer works.

    16. jeremydlewis says:

      This article is wrong for one very simple reason.

      Concerts.

      Artists make the bulk of their money from touring (ticket sales, merchandise,etc.). And people like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, etc. make a**loads of money too from their tours! Artists, regardless of whether they’re like Lady Gaga or a band like Arcade Fire, need material/songs to tour. They couldn’t make huge tours on just a few singles. They have to make full length albums in order to make full blown tours happen. The labels themselves might push more for releasing singles, but the success of an artist is not just in singles sold, but in live performances as well (just ask Ashley Simpson how important it is to perform live). Labels are aware of this as well, as you’ve so keenly pointed out their they’re in te business of making “stars”! Stars don’t just live in studios. The fans want to see these artist live in concert, and they’re not gonna buy a $200 ticket to see Lady Gaga perform 3 songs. They’ll pay $200 a ticket to see Lady Gaga perform 15 songs though, even if they only know 2-3 songs of hers.

      • Clay says:

        You are RIGHT. Artists DO make a killing w/ concerts and some select few major artists make the majority of their earnings off concert sales…BUT if you are a songwriter (in any genre) the SINGLE model has made it hard to survive out there. Trust me, I know first hand. It use to be that the consumer would go by the album, driven by the Single, everyone on the album (producers, songwriters, publishers, etc etc ) would all benefit regardless if you had the single which allowed a lot of writers to feed their families and make a decent or above decent living. In today’s market (from a songwriter’s perspective) you are only going to get ahead by having the SINGLES because now fewer people buy albums, they just cherry pick their favorite tunes off iTunes or wherever (which most the time are the SINGLES bc they have all the exposure) hence why SINGLES are King and albums aren’t really working anymore, especially from a writer’s standpoint.

        • jeremydlewis says:

          Albums do still work. Ask Eminem how his latest album release is going (better than ever for him), or ask Coldplay how they feel about their last two album releases (record breaking). The glaring error here is that this article doesn’t realize it is only referencing large female acts. Female artists have always struggled in getting the same type of album sales that male artists get in the music industry. Justin Timberlake’s last album (20/20 experience pt.1) went platinum in two weeks. There’s no female artists that even gets within a spitting distance of these dudes numbers. It’s sad, but true.

    17. Eric Leland says:

      Not sure if Katy Perry, Gaga and Miley Cyrus are the examples to judge the future of the “LP” by. They are sugar coated pop aimed at 13 year old girls.

      McCartney’s new one has not had great reviews, plus his fans own 30+ CDs with his voice on it (and his last few have been average at best)

      Elton’s new one has amazing reviews, but no radio single. That’s by his choice (although I think he would like to reach a large audience, this one is for his fans of his 1970-1973 era)

      Both of these are career artists that have over-saturated their audience with product (live LP, Best of, remastered, DVD, tours). I have 20+ Elton albums and love them, but I will pick up The Diving Board when I need to, not the day it comes out.

      The LP (I mean full length release, not Vinyl) is the superior way to hear most artist’s work. I am listening to Bruce Springsteen’s The River right now and “Hungry Heart” although a fine song, does not take you on the emotional journey that the 2-lp (in this case actual vinyl) suite of songs does.

      More recently, The Killers “Battle Born” is a LP full of songs that need to be heard in the right order, back to back – each song builds on the next. Jason Isbell’s Southeastern has rock, country, folk, comedy and heartbreak all on the same record. There is no reason to try and do this all in a single (nor would it be effective)

      It would be a shame if there was not another Dark Side Of The Moon, The River, Tommy, Kid A, Sam’s Town,Joshua Tree or 21.

      Does the world really care if Katy Perry just puts out singles?

    18. Bryn says:

      maybe its the fact that radiostations tend to only play one song on the albUm over and over again until you get sick of it ad 98 percent of the time the single the artist puts out isn’t half as good or well written as the other songs on the album not to mention if the single they put out doesn’t draw people in or is annoying or repetitive people won’t be drawn into the album as a whole.

    19. KATY PERY SUCK MY BALLZ says:

      NO ONE BUYS HER MUSIC BECAUSE IT IS SH*TE, WHO LISTEN’S TO THIS SH*T?

      IS IT JUST ME OR IS EVERYONE ELSE MENTAL?

    20. george says:

      No one has ever bought an Album from one hit wonders…

    21. It really depends on the audience for the album. Fans of an act do get excited for albums, but popularity brings a large host of interest in whatever it is about the act that is trending at that moment. For example, Everybody listened to “Roar” and watched the video, and a lot of people liked it, but mostly only fans of Katy Perry are gonna go out with the intent to buy that record. She’ll make some new fans who will buy it, for sure, but the singles, though consumed en masse, do not necessarily translate as album sales. The mainstream seems to flow faster, and the acts in it really have to operate cleverly and quickly to dish out stimulus to sell, not necessarily to the fans who will be there for them, but to those who will buy a single or an album based on the excitement around the artist at the time or the modern hook in the trending single. A band like Arcade Fire for example, seem to be operating with an audience interested less in hooks or whats popular at the moment and more with the artistic statements offered within their canon. They can count on their albums songs being a focal point of their fan base. Pop acts have a pressure to do well, not just with their fans, but with everybody.

      I don’t think the album will die. There will always be artists with the desire to create statements who will bundle them together as a package and sell them to support themselves, and 200,000 is a lot of albums. We just live in a world where a very large number of music consumers don’t sit down with albums looking to pull out catharsis, and unfortunately, their need for quick stimulus is whats being catered too.

    22. Welp, great. I feel so much better about my career now.

      Don’t you love when realists state the problem but offer absolutely NO effing solution?

      Me neither.
      So yeah, thanks. Thanks alot.

    23. Beetek says:

      “No one has time for an hour long statement”. Meanwhile there is a box to the left reminding me that a movie made 500 million dollars.

    24. anon says:

      Dude. Its a bad album. Teenage Dream was well written and well constructed. The lyrics, phrasing, and overall message of the tunes on this record just don’t compare. That’s why its not selling as well.

      And yes… the argument for singles in the pop genre… that too.

    25. Braxton says:

      That’s funny…Eminem sells 800,000 copies of his album in the first week. Wait- could it be there is a difference in talent between Eminem and Miley Cyrus?? No way

    26. Mike says:

      Eminem just sold like 800,000 in his fist week, its not the album, its the artist. Real fans of music know that Katy Perry sux, it’s a unch of 10-13 year olds buying the singles off of itunes and not caring about the album, while real music lovers buy good albums, which are few and far between

    27. Rajiv Bajaj says:

      I remember reading an article where it was said that Jon Bon Jovi hates iTunes / Apple’s business model. He hated the fact that a person could buy one track and not the whole album. He said that everything from the songs to the cd sleeve is a part of the package. After reading your article, I total get it now why he was pissed about iTunes.

      Also thiis makes me sad, there are a few albums that would only work if you heard all the tracks in order, Queensryche’s Operation Mindcrime is one of them, it tells a story. If you buy one track from the album, you just wouldn’t get it. Another one that comes to mind is Les Miserables live performance, if you hear one track only you are missing out.

    28. Richard D. Huanes says:

      How pathetic you’re not mentioning Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP which sells pretty good at all. Such a biased article. As if you only needed to write something…

    29. Haha. If you treat music as a consumable commodity, you’re spot on. But if it’s more to you than just a product that has to sell, that it can be a cohesive body of work representative of your current sensibilities and ideas, then the album is for you no matter what some record executive says.

    30. Bob says:

      This applies to the lazy listener. One who listens to a song because it’s popular and doesn’t have the resolve to listen to the rest of the artist’s efforts. If you stop making albums because people won’t buy them, you probably shouldn’t be making music. Of course, you need money to make and perform music, but the main motivation should be to make good music, music the artist themselves likes, music that represents them. Why should the musician care if they’re ahead of the audience? Make music for yourself, and the audience can like it or lump it. The reason why Bangerz didn’t sell well is because people recognise the gimmick, they recognise that the music’s only there for shock value. I refuse to believe that her songs came from the heart, but even if they did, why should Miley care if the album doesn’t sell well? If she truly wasn’t money-motivated, she should be happy that a true part of her is out there.

    31. poo says:

      You are so negative

    32. Ron Davis says:

      What about acts that are not singles bands? Pearl Jam are still selling records. Ever heard of Radiohead? When they release their next record it will sell 4 or 5 million.

    33. Hilary says:

      Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Luke Bryan, Carrie Underwood, ADELE, Beyonce, Madonna, Lana Del Rey, Taylor Swift, etc and those who have greater album sales than single sales. Also, you need to sell 10 singles to get the same amount of money from selling 1 album. Do the maths and you will know why albums still exist.

    34. Kyle says:

      Maybe no one bought those albums because they are bad… he is right about one thing people dont buy albums anymore because most people dont feel they have the money to waste on them for one or two songs.

    35. Thomas says:

      The writer might as well say no one has time to read so dont write novels…sad. Hes probably young…and there in lyes a greater truth.

      • Reg says:

        That… isn’t even close to what he’s saying. He’s not saying no one has time to listen to music, he’s saying that releasing one album every two years doesn’t work to keep people interested, and he’s right. If you look at the model that the group Pentatonix uses, as an example – in the past month, they’ve released two new covers on their youtube channel, their second big album debuted, and they’re re-releasing their christmas album in a few weeks with two new songs on it. On top of that, the individual members of the group each have music channels of their own, including a group vlog channel and another very popular one called Superfruit where they posted weekly videos. They understand the need for constant interaction with their fans, and they do a brilliant job of it.

    36. F Anderson says:

      The writer has some good points, but I think his advice is relevant primarily to artists who are already established. Unknown artists who are trying to become known to the general public need to have news media write about their music. Most media outlets will only review or write about albums or EPS, not singles. If an unknown artist only releases one single at a time, he or she is not likely to attract the media coverage that is still critical to sales and popularity.

    37. audiomatt says:

      This author has repeated an argument about the music industry that has been gathering dust for almost two decades. Apparently variety is just as hungry to deliver entertaining “content” to its readers as the music industry is to deliver singles.

      Hey Bob,
      Do you have any ideas? Ones worth writing about? I’d love to read those. Perhaps you should talk to your higher ups and tell them “I don’t want to write derivative articles. I want to really work on stuff that satisfies reader’s desires instead of something transient, derivative and meaningless. You should try and restructure the business to deal with this problem because I’m getting sick of you breathing down my neck for ‘content.'”

    38. Mark Uricheck says:

      What Sir Bobby doesn’t get here, is that not every artist is – or longs to be – Katy Perry. Those artists (notice I say “artist” and not “musician”) that desire to be media whores and penetrate the stream of consciousness of mall-rat teens will adopt a Perry/Bieber (insert any would-be disposable name here) business model and milk it for all it’s worth. The true artists that are hopelessly devoted to their craft will continue the album format – because that’s what they do. I interviewed ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett recently – a more admirable musician I cannot think of. Hackett professed his love for the much-maligned album, and the endless possibilities the format brings with it. I agree. True music fans – of which I actually know some younger kids, believe it or not, will still appreciate the album and support it. True, we’ll never see big numbers like we used to, but the art of the album will always be with us – not as a commodity, but as a standard of musical achievement and excellence. I hope the loyalists don’t forget that.

    39. gary miller says:

      Its a singles market now ,just like it was was in the sixties
      the quality of songs is the key, look at the 60’s 70’s and the 80’s
      so many different styles of music ,different styles of bands ,artist’s etc.
      the encouraging thing is there are so many young talented people out there, its going to take time to come through, most of the people that have a problem with the new way of buying and listening to music are the older generation and find it hard to get there head around it
      When the radio was first invented everyone also said thats the end of music ,why will people buy it when they can listen to it free on the radio, we just have to adapt, there is no going back
      I have been in the music industry professional for 30 years and fortunately ,still managing to make a living at it.
      I speak with lots of young artist’s as a producer, and without exception none of the real artist’s that are out there want to get into it because of the money, music is something that is in your blood from a young age I am sure you could speak to any famous artist Elton, Prince ,David Bowie, Mcartney,Rolling Stones all the Motown artist’s etc. I guarantee everyone of them would tell you how difficult it was in the beginning. all that said. music in its self is thriving and there is some great talent out there that need to be encouraged, there is one simple thing to remember Its all about the song
      also there is no such thing as an over night success ,it takes years of hard work and sleepless nights to become one.

    40. Clay says:

      As someone who made a modest living as a staff songwriter in Nashville there is a lot of truth in this article…it’s ALL about the SINGLE, who gets the single, who’s got the direct link to the artist so they can get the single…sure album cuts are great little success and as a songwriter all of your songs are like children, and you want all of those children to find nice homes to live in…BUT, the songs that help you maintain a long career are SINGLES…those are the notches on your belt that get you more exposure as a writer, that get you a bigger pub deal, that gets you better co-writes, and on and on and on…Because of this single driven model as a songwriter you can’t feed a family of four anymore with album cuts that are faintly and barely heard by a shrinking and ADHD audience who wants what they want when they want it…and that’s why (like the article said) the smart artists that realize this are capitalizing on as may different media outlets as they can. Why do you think most artists want to have their name on the single? It’s because the single is King and what generates the most money so when you walk to your mailbox to pick up your BMI and ASCAP check you have something to be happy about and you can buy the things you need to in the world. Don’t get me wrong, you should make music because it moves you and you hope that it evokes emotion in others, BUT it’s called the music business for a reason…there is music, and there is business…and as a former paid staff writer with some crappy singles I can tell you first hand…if you are trying to make a solid living and want longevity in the business you need those hit singles or top 20 singles year after year to get ahead.

    41. To all those who say that sending out albums is obsolete, I say “What’s the alternative?”

      Send the stations six singles, one after another? Stations don’t want singles (I’m talking college and alt here). Send them links to tracks? Nobody EVER opened a link to a track from an unknown.

      If a corporate star sells 280k, that’s fine. College/alt bands can’t power their way into any sales at all. All they can do is give the kids a basket of songs and hope that one of them hits a little.

      And don’t tell me about Aht. Please.

    42. Marco Zodiaco says:

      Maybe the albums produced now by the mainstream are more based on HYPE and image rather that the actual music The whole music industry has changed this way – quick albums that noone will buy in 10 years time (ask yourself why people are still buying albums by Stevie Wonder, Arteha Fraklin, Pink Floyd…). What you suggest is the artist being a slave for the audience – maybe Katy Perry or Justin Bieber deserve that as they have no artist depth. But making music is not like working in a factory. Maybe pointless commercial factory made music can work like that (and it would be amazing for session musicians to kept being called by labels for endless studio sessions…). But real songwriters / performers do not work like that. Music comes from life experience and music development, as well as technical abilities. And these things take time to be nurtured and internalized. You say artists (don’t say musician please…unless you specify which musician you mean) are behind the the audience…but frankly a singer that wants to be ahead of an audience that follows Justin Bieber or Katie Perry is more a record label product than an actual artist. Take Katie Perry…take away her pretty face, sexy image, her producers, her record label pumping money…there is nothing left. No one will sit and listen to her beautiful voice (she cannot even sing in tune). You are not talking about music, you are talking about marketing commercial rubbish.

    43. Alexandre Brizard says:

      Columnists tend to generalize. From what I can see, this statement applies only to pop music, which, truthfully, is now awfully inclusive since a decade or two (when you first heard grunge and metal music on mainstream radio broadcasts). Maybe the album itself isn’t selling anymore, but the album isn’t what’s being sold: perfumes, jewelry, undies, shoes are the main source of profit. The album is just an advertising tool. It’s an excuse for the music label to spam us with that particular artist for a couple of weeks.

      For less popular artists, it’s a way to cram as much hits as you can in a single package, therefore increasing the impact you have in people’s minds. That’s as simple as it gets.

      For those reasons, albums are here to stay.

    44. renvjn says:

      Beyonce’s 5th album will dominates the world. QUEEN B.

    45. Mario Knapp says:

      I believe soulful music is contagious, and a good story will always touch people’s hearts. As an artist, it isn’t my goal to be ‘behind’ or ‘ahead’ of the audience, but rather with the audience. If you’re in it for the fame, you gotta deal with the fact that it’s the music industry that is always ‘behind’.

    46. Juanita says:

      It would be nice if music as an art form, live entertainment and expression of self, were in any way valued in the states. But the way we have to fight to keep art and music in schools is an effing tragedy.

    47. mauren says:

      we need more synergy between the various forms of art, business and communication, more co-creativity and openess.

    48. Marc says:

      “What kind of screwed up world do we live in where Katy Perry’s new album ‘Prism’ sells only 287,000 copies in its debut?”

      A totally excellent world. The less people hearing and purchasing Katy Perry’s ghost-written, generically produced, trashy ‘music’, the better.
      The album is still alive and kicking, but mainly for true musical ARTISTS, ones that don’t care about the dollar and are more interested in what they can put out. And it is those artists whose fans enjoy every track of their music. Plenty of artists released completely free albums online this year, not just mixtapes or EP’s, I’m taling about full albums, and the reason is to build a fan base which creates more accessibility for live shows early on. And a lot of artists that are creating albums and charging for them these days are releasing them independently instead of through large labels.

      Albums are only dying in the eyes of the record labels, not for artists themselves, and if its not making the labels enough money then great!
      Major labels have brought about their own downfall by overproducing music for the last 20-30 years, they are the ones that have caused the mainstream followers of their music to develop such short attention spans towards it because they bombarded them with so much marketing to believe that the only option is to listen to what’s hot right now and they’ve focused so much on manufacturing a product for the ‘right now’ that it’s impossible to have an album of 10+ songs without them all sounding exactly the same (even though they basically do anyway).
      I think the unfortunate truth is that for people who just listen to what the radio and media tell them to, they are constantly changing what they are listening to because it takes 10 minutes for something to fade into obscurity before you’re hearing about the ‘next big thing in music’. This causes them to have no longevity in their connection to an artists music, so they download that one single they like and then never go any deeper.
      I think it’s a great thing that major record labels are suffering in that regard, hopefully they’ll stop butchering one of the greatest methods of artistic expression with another song that is written by a middle-aged male record producing ghost writer but sung by a female in her mid 20’s when the song is about young teenaged girl’s love problems (the highest selling concept in mainstream music).

      • Kurt says:

        While I appreciate your sentiment, I’m not sure this is working:

        “Plenty of artists released completely free albums online this year, not just mixtapes or EP’s, I’m taling about full albums, and the reason is to build a fan base which creates more accessibility for live shows early on”

        You seem to be suggesting that there is money to be made for new artists to do live shows.

    49. Tiddy says:

      Have you ever thought maybe these artist you named are not being taken seriously by the public? Katy Perry may not be as well recieved as TV implies, Miley is considered a joke by many people from her recent antics and Lorde is relatively new so she can still blow up in a positive way. Elton and McCartney are old and maybe there fan base is depleting, or maybe they lost some of there touch. The only reason I say this is because there are still artist selling a lot of units, for example, Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience 968,000 copies sold in its first week and Eminem’s MMLP2 792,000 copies in its first week of sales. My point is, maybe, just maybe some artists are liked more then others.

    50. lolmayonnaise says:

      It might be because I am a musician, but I thoroughly enjoy purchasing and listening to a physical copy of an album. I am probably in the minority though, it seems.

      • Sam says:

        McCartney’s audience will never be depleted but it expands with passing years. I saw him not too long ago in DC and the show was sold out immediately. My younger kids were blown away by this 70 year McCartney who performed for two straight hours without fireworks, dancers, choreography or any today’s gimmicks. Just him and his music.

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