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Redefining the Album

January 26, 2009

— From The New Rockstar Philosophy book out in March 2009–

Albums are for fans. Singles are for newbies.

Bob Lefsetz

A lot of bands think that if they create 10-12 songs, they should record an album. Most then spend a lot of money doing so.

Then they’ll spend even more money to press the album, even in the age when most folks download music for free.

After the album release, most bands stop promoting the album because they thought it was all about the release party. They then get discouraged and break-up because not enough people cared about their expensive “masterpiece.”

It sounds harsh, but let’s be honest, people are jaded by the record industry. The record industry knew they could make more money selling albums than singles, so that’s what they did.

One good single could help sell millions of albums. People got used to only 2-3 good songs on a 12-song album.

Today, fans can get the songs they want without buying the album. Why should they waste their money on an album when they can download just the tracks they want?

So before you spend any money recording an album, you should ask yourself a very important question:

Why are you recording an Album?

Songs are heard one at a time. People will come to your music one song at a time. An album is only as strong as its songs.

Sure, you can design an album that’s meant to be listened front to back, but that’s only going to appeal to people after they become fans of the songs themselves.

Admitting that all your songs aren’t perfect can be a bitter pill to swallow, but ultimately a necessary one. Be honest with yourself. If you have 2 or 3 songs you really believe in and the others aren’t there yet, then be patient, wait to make that album.

Take Control of Your Music,


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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2009 11:10 am

    I know nothing about this from an artist’s point of view, but it seems from a fan’s perspective we’ve come full circle. In the 50’s to mid 60’s, albums didn’t mean squat. They were mostly filler. The single was important. The Beatles, arguably, made the album important, at least in Britain where they resisted putted their singles on albums.

    Albums became works of art. Look at all the so-called “concept albums” of the late 60’s and beyond. Musicians couldn’t express their vision on a 45. Album covers started mattering.

    I like albums. These days If I don’t like most of the songs a band has on an album, I move on. I ignore their “hits” and move on. It’s kinda sad to me that people don’t expect 9 out of 12 songs to be quality and that they don’t care about album covers as art.

    That’s just me. Ultimately it is about the music, so maybe it doesn’t matter whether you get 12 good songs or only 2 good ones.

  2. January 27, 2009 8:33 pm

    We Rate Stuff collectively and stonedly laughed for about 5 minutes at how much John Lennon looks like Matisyahu in that photo.

  3. January 27, 2009 8:51 pm

    I agree, it feels full circle again. Ultimately i don’t care how I hear the music as long as it’s honest and good.

  4. January 27, 2009 8:52 pm

    Wow, that resemblance is uncanny! Nice one Gents.

  5. January 29, 2009 1:55 am

    I’ve been noticing how disinterested and distant the Beatles look in many of the photos in 1969, at least the group shots. They seem bored at best.

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