"Make no mistake. With very few exceptions, albums are edging closer to extinction. Playlists are the future."
Thus claims Radio 1's Head of Music George Ergatoudis. While my immediate response is to want to shout "FUCK OFF" in his face, I have to concede that,sadly, for a lot of people that may very well be true. Taking in an album takes time and patience - both things that are generally in short supply, the desire for instant gratification making flitting from discrete song to discrete song more attractive. Which makes me want to sigh in despair - why is it seen as so arduous to show artists a little respect?
Reports of the album's death are premature, though. As Ergatoudis has since himself conceded, the age of the mass-market blockbuster that everyone has to own may be over, but some hardy souls will plug away with recording LPs, continuing to participate in what is a "minority sport" and believe in their value. The revival of vinyl and more recently the cassette offer hope that the album format too will prove far hardier than the doom merchants and industry bigwigs predict.
And that would be cause for celebration - there's nothing quite like immersing yourself in an album, or for hearing a song take on a whole new life when hearing it in context (often in creative juxtaposition) with others. Ergatoudis' context-free, playlist-focused future is not one I'm in any hurry to embrace.