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Albums Index

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Be it LP, CD, or distributed digitally, an album is still an album.

"When I record an album I'm trying to get as close as possible to that perfect moment."

While most people today are familiar with the modern concept of an album, said concept being a collection of several musical tracks together in a single package (such as an LP, a CD, or a cassette tape), the album was not always as ubiquitous as it is today, and the way albums are packaged has changed as well. The first albums were released in bundles which resembled photo albums, books containing several 78-RPM gramophone discs. The idea of having larger, long-playing vinyl discs to fit a collection of music on was introduced by Columbia Records in 1948, with these 12-inch records capable of having 26 minutes of audio on each side and having much smaller grooves.

Despite this advancement, the album did not catch on for a while. Singles (which themselves became more popular as 45-RPM vinyl or gramophone discs) tended to be the main way that music was consumed by the public for a long time. However, in the 1960s, albums became more important, as musicians began working more carefully on them as a unit of expression themselves rather than just a collection of randomly put together songs. Concept Albums, Rock Operas, Progressive Rock music, which used the format to its fullest potential and pushed it to its limit and beyond, also allowed for an exponential increase in the importance of albums. Album Cover Designers were brought in to provide striking images that would attract the public's attention and could be interesting in their own right too.

Starting in the 2000s and going into the early 2010s, however, the album had a decline in popularity. Part of this was due to the rise of file-sharing networks making music more accessible for people and, of course, less costly. Digital music stores, such as Apple's iTunes or Amazon's Amazon Music service, also allowed people to purchase individual tracks instead of making people purchase whole albums if they do not desire to do so. Despite this, the album continued to enjoy some degree of popularity, even if some people believed it was a dead format.

Then around 2015 something especially strange happened. The vinyl record started seeing a slight boost in sales. Then, going into 2016 and to this day, the vinyl record has seen the highest sales in over 25 years. With many albums that never had a vinyl issue getting their first print on the format, the album is now getting a new lease on life in popularity. It seems that despite the easy availability of digital downloads, people still want to be able to own a physical copy of their music. Modern audiences are likely to have a combination of albums on vinyl and digital copies for when they're on the go. Time will tell if this is another passing fad or a lasting trend that will see new innovations in the album as an art form.

See also Album Tropes. For more infomation, see Wikipedia's article on albums.

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Alternative Title(s): Album