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[microsound] Re: How long should a "digital" album be

Ooh, I love this discussion. I've put a lot of thought
in the last couple years about the art of album
creation and how it's different from the art of song
creation and performing live shows. 

My personal tastes are that I like to listen to an
artist or group in blocks of 40 to 65 minutes if the
music is good. That's not an on purpose thing, I just
find if it's longer I tend to change the cd, and if
it's shorter I find myself wanting to hear more
(except in the case of very saturdated/sonically dense
albums). In fact, one of the reasons I haven't gone
back to listening to vinyl is that I don't want to
flip a record every 20 minutes. 

Speaking of which, I wonder if the length of time that
vinyl has the form of media has an effect on our
current attention spans. With vinyl, if you had more
than 22 minutes on a side, you'd lose audio quality,
so it was rare that records were longer than 45
minutes. As we moved to longer formats, album lengths
gradually increased to now an average of about 60

My listening habits haven't really changed with the
transition from physical media to digital. Even when
I'm listening to streaming radio I tend to change the
station every 60 minutes or so. Sometimes if an artist
has an ep for download, I won't burn it to cd until I
have another ep to pair it with. 

As far as creating a project goes, my advice would be
to pay attention to your own listening habits and
those of others when you hear it. If you find yourself
losing patience during a song or using the cue button
to get to "the cool part", that's a sign it could be

When determining the song order for a project, I
usually try to figure out a few songs that sound like
"early", "middle" and "end" songs, then put the others
in an order that flows well. I sometimes wind up using
songs that I was originally lukewarm about, just
because they fit so well with others. And I wind up
not using tracks that I'm really happy with, because
they'd have to be forced in. 

Back to shorter formats - I think that current top 40
music is a very singles-oriented music being forced
into an album format, which results in a lot of
mediocre "filler" tracks on the album. Lately, both
the digital distribution model and the (r)emergence of
compilations and mixtapes have been steering those
fans away from albums. 


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