For the past few years, artists such as Radiohead have toyed with the idea of doing away with the album format and replacing it instead with a stream of intermittent EPs or singles; the idea is that singles can be churned out and distributed quicker than albums, and besides, no one’s buying albums anyway. And now it looks as though the upcoming release from Ash–the Irish power-pop band that has done its damndest to break into the U.S. market–will be the band’s last proper album:
“The way people listen to music has changed,” says frontman Tim Wheeler in a statement. “With the advent of the download, the emphasis has reverted to single tracks. When you’re tied to the album format, you find yourself waiting six months between finishing a record and releasing it. By leaving this behind we can enter a new phase of spontaneity and creativity. We have our own studio in New York, we can record a track and release it the next day if we feel like it, give it to people while it’s fresh. We’re the first band to do this, but I very much doubt we’ll be the last.”
For Ash, the singles-only approach makes sense: The group released a whopping nine tracks from its past two studio albums, and its Intergalactic Sonic 7″‘s collection gets the most amount of play in the Idolator flophouse. Of course, the downside is that many consumers now download a single or two for free before deciding whether or not to buy the whole album, meaning that Wheeler and co. could wind up giving away much of their material for free, which is sure to put a dent in their hooded-sweatshirt budget.
Ash Abandons Album Format [Billboard]