no singles, please

Leftsetz, who blogs compulsively, says Singles Only:

Don’t make an album. And whatever you do, don’t send it to me! I don’t have time.

Heritage acts. Classic acts. Cut one great single! That you can do your best to work. Shit, give it away for free… As an inspiration to buy a concert ticket, where the true money is. Why spend all that money and time to cut an album that almost no one’s going to hear?

New bands… One track only.

But wait, he doesn’t mean you only get one more song in your career:

you don’t give them ten more tracks… You give them a dribbling of killers. So they end up becoming fans of the act, not the track.

Ok, so what’s another word for dribbling? Blogging. The new format isn’t the *single*, the single is just as inert as the album. Singles are vestigial. The format is the *post*.

A couple real world examples: Jeff Harrington has a new violin sonata out and there’s a new song up on soup greens.

8 thoughts on “no singles, please

  1. How will we ever convince artists of this? I’m working on the ones I know, but it’s an uphill battle. The best example so far is YouTube – the kids who post songs frequently gain a following, and that’s what all artists want.

  2. Natural selection I guess.

    I’ll bet there’s a massive dying off of old school acts right now, as the kids who post songs frequently eat their following.

  3. The change from traditional media-culture to weblog-culture is happening in vlog culture, and will happen in music culture.

    I like singles and albums, but I can really connect to a stream of weblog-type interconnection–a set of intellectual ideas and future ideas. I’m done with stars and celebrities and celluloid heroes, created by large corporations as a sales device.

  4. I think it’s a bit backwards-looking to think in terms of “the format.” Before the record label era, there was always a huge mix of formats for music experiences.

    During the record label era, that huge mix of formats has continued to exist and grow–it’s just gotten a bit obscured by the overbearing popularity of both the album and single formats.

    So, the blog post is a format for music experience–cool! But, why imagine it should itself achieve any kind of overbearing popularity, as if it’s the new version of the record era’s format homogeneity?

    I’d like to imagine this attraction to blog post-based music is another step away from the boring sameness of a couple popular music formats.

  5. I think that you make a good point, Jay. I think that talking about the weblog post as a “format” is really talking about the idea of sharing musical experience in simpler contexts than the obscuring album/single hegemony. It’s not that “it’s a weblog” that makes the difference,as you point out, but the idea that “music sharing can be in different contexts, including the current “most basic”, the weblog post.

  6. Yeah, I like that – I think that’s what’s exciting about it.

    Also, like you say: “current most basic” – the blog structure (of one-track linear time / current / history) isn’t *the* structure of music or the creative process, and it can be a lot of structural / procedural baggage around music.

    And, e.g., look at MySpace as an example of how a different, but very basic structure (a page with 4 tracks and a player) can work for both musicians and listeners.

    Mostly aside: I was just thinking, someone could create a webring-like music format, e.g., post a track on a page, and have that page link to prev / next track, across the web. We still need a web music player that works more like a spider, and follows links. . .


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