Albums vs Singles: Who is winning in the music industry?
Up until the invention of the iPod, music was experienced much differently than it is today. For the majority of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, buying music meant getting a walkman or a Discman. How many of you had a Discman with those big damn headphones with foams that wear off after a while? We had no choice, you just had to carry these devices if you plan to enjoy your music. I remember that D’banj’s Entertainer album was a constant jam on my Discman.
Weekly you had to get new discs to listen to good music. People released albums and you had to listen to all the tracks then afterward you fast forward to your interesting songs. Artistes had to do meaningful songs because not too many people would shell out money on a C.D for just two hit singles. There was no choice but to listen to the entire album because most walkmans would only accept one C.D at a time.
The iPods came and changed everything. Early 2000’s if you had an iPod you were considered a “big” boy or girl. In so many ways music is easier to access today, most people will download or purchase only the songs they like for free, or pay a flat monthly fee for a streaming app.
For artists now the best way to get noticed is to first penetrate the charts and then worry about the album later. Current hip-hop sensation Davido has had a career graph that follows this exact pattern. With IF and FIA topping charts in 2017, he was an instant hit once again. Sure Davido’s fame, social media presence were catalysts; but Davido’s last compilation of songs was an EP — Son of Mercy– in 2016.
In the music industry in Nigeria, Davido and many others have cracked the secret code. Assurance which has become a trademark by Davido is on the lips of everyone. Everyone is singing Assurance, a song that was meant for just one person. But Davido knows that love sells, he tried it with Aye and IF. In less than one month Assurance has over 5 million unique views on Youtube. Its safe to say the singles has replaced the albums; a trend that distinctly separates music moguls from upcoming artists.
While there are still artists like Simi (Simisola), Falz (27) and Brymo (OSO) that put effort into ensuring each song on an album serves a purpose, there is an increasing number of musicians only concentrating on making hit singles.
Race to make “hit” songs
The wave of artists releasing singles in the process of gaining cheap popularity for their body of work is on the rise. Any artist with the right producer, right digital marketing strategy can sway people to listen to their singles. It has worked for artists. The only thing that saddens my heart is the level of mediocrity in some of these singles.
While those doing albums get to sit down and do some meaningful work, some artists just think that releasing singles is the answer to relevance in the saturated music industry. Working on singles might have made artist lazy but we can’t blame them. The audience psychology has also changed over the years, people want to listen to only good songs and singles just does that.
However, if artists were doing more work on their album, the audience will listen. The artists doing good music have each created a place for themselves in their respective genres despite being obvious standouts.
Albums or singles, which way for you?