The future of music releases. Albums vs EP’s vs Playlists vs Mixtapes

The album isn’t completely dead and the playlist isn’t yet the be-all and end-all – which means that artists are somewhat creatively discombobulated in what is really a curious transition period. But with that comes the scope to experiment and push the boundaries. Justin Bieber could be the one firing the starting pistol for the […]

Lil Baby album gets digital ‘deluxe’ treatment with music videos

In the streaming age, what is a ‘deluxe’ album anyway? It’s more than just extra tracks and alternative versions. A number of artists have explored Spotify’s ‘enhanced’ playlists format, which inserts videos between the music tracks, for example. And video is also at the core of the strategy for the deluxe version of Lil Baby’s […]

Sandbox Issue 251: Streaming and Music’s new formats

Lead: The playlist hasn’t killed the album… yet. Instead, artists and labels are caught between both and are starting to experiment with the shapes that releases can now take. Justin Bieber has begun chopping up his album into a series of EPs, designed in part to find the sweet spot on streaming services that drive […]

Dolly Parton and Laura Marling release surprise albums

Well, in the case of Dolly Parton it’s ‘re-release’ since her “93 Song Surprise” is the digital relaunch of six of her albums from earlier this century. ‘Little Sparrow’ (2001), ‘Halos & Horns’ (2002), ‘For God & Country’ (2003), ‘Live & Well’ (2004), ‘Those Were the Days’ (2005) and ‘Better Day’ (2011) are the six, […]

Justin Bieber to release bi-weekly mini-compilations

News that Justin Bieber is going to be releasing a couple of albums a week during the coronavirus pandemic may raise your eyebrows, but there’s a caveat: these are compilations rather than all brand new material. “Gonna be putting up some compilations for you guys. Tuesdays and Thursdays. Here is the first one,” tweeted Bieber yesterday, […]

The mystery of Childish Gambino’s ‘Donald Glover Presents’

Fans of Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) got a surprise this weekend when a new album called ‘Donald Glover Presents’ appeared to drop out of the blue. Not on streaming services, but as Billboard reported, the album was made available on a website of the same name, with its 12 tracks including new collaborations with Ariana […]

Catalogue marketing rejuvenated

Catalogue marketing used to mainly be about the 20th anniversary box set (with some demos and a couple of new photos added in) or about the same 15 songs in a slightly different order, popped in a slightly different sleeve and called a “best of”. Streaming has changed that completely. Plus, with popular music now […]

Deezer study suggests that album listening is on the wane

Streaming service Deezer has revealed some of the results from a survey of 8,000 people in the US, France, Germany and Brazil about their music-listening habits. Among its claims: that 54% of respondents say they are ‘listening to fewer albums than 5-10 years ago’. Nearly 40% said they prefer playlists, while one in 10 ‘feel […]

Liz Longley smashes Kickstarter total to buy album back from label

When crowdfunding platform Kickstarter first started making waves in the music industry in the early 2010s, the pitch from artists was often ‘help me to make my new album independently’. In 2019, in the case of artist Liz Longley, the pitch is ‘help me to buy my new album back from my label so I […]

Billie Eilish’s managers on the future of the album in the streaming age and why radio is far from dead

Danny Rukasin and Brandon Goodman co-manage Billie Eilish and they have been talking to MBW about the stealth development underpinning her career and how her debut album – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? – is having to work in the streaming and playlisting era. “While playlists drive single consumption, albums can be […]

Billie Eilish album on course for impressive first-week streams

Who knew? Billie Eilish is quite popular with music-streamers, as well as with the streaming services. Billboard reports that her album ‘When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?’ is on course for more than 170m on-demand audio streams in the US alone in its first week. Although just as impressive is its predicted total of […]

Report 422: Playlisting’s next leap forward

Playlists have been referred to as everything from the new album, the new compilation, the new greatest hits, through to the new radio, the new MTV and more. Whether you’re a pop act trying to build a truly global audience or just trying to make a living from making mood music, if you’re not on […]

Apple is giving playlists the album-artwork treatment

We’re ashamed to confess that we haven’t given that much thought to the artwork for the programmed playlists on music-streaming services. That said, we suspect a fair few of those services haven’t really made it a priority either, beyond ensuring the right artist or mood-signalling image is present with the correct corporate branding. So it’s […]

Albums in the streaming era: ‘Put the best six songs up front’

We’re well aware of the ‘don’t bore us – get to the chorus!’ maxim (cheers, Roxette!) for popular music in the modern streaming era. But that can now seemingly be extended to ‘don’t bore us – get to all the songs with good choruses quickly on the album please!’ At least, that’s the gist of an […]

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