Culling the Guff? or HeLP the LP? 31/03/2008
Hello all, I trust we all had nothing short of a magical Easter break?
Muse are my muse this week with Mr Bellamy suggesting that he might bin off the traditional record format in favour of releasing a couple of tracks every other month then whacking the best 10 on an LP ‘style’ release at the end of the year for the more passive/traditionalist/hardcore fans to go and purchase.
Now this isn’t radical thinking what-so-ever; Guy Hands suggested that digital EP releases are the way forward for up and coming artists in order to ‘test-the-water’ and also the Kaiser’s suggested a similar sort of thing a month or 2 ago, but with Muse being one of the ‘big guns’ of the British music industry, if they were to go ahead with this malarkey; would it actually stick and become a viable method of releasing music in the future?
I definitely think Hands has got a point when it comes to new and upcoming artists. A band who release something less than 18 months from conception are very rarely going to have an LP which is superb throughout (apart from your rare exceptions of course) and my personal rule of thumb is that an artist takes a good couple of years to genuinely find ‘their sound’ and start writing consistently good material in that style. So why not release those 3 or 4 songs that have got you that initial interest whilst you develop your talents as a songwriter to eventually release something that you won’t look back on in a year’s time and think “God those last 3 tracks were a bit of a filler weren’t they?”.
When you get to larger, worldwide acts though I don’t think ditching the traditional album format is a good idea. When you’ve got an artist who is good enough to still have interest on an international scale 3, 4, 5 albums on etc then you’re obviously doing something right so why fob off your fans with the odd track here and there and now and again?
It’d be like constant audio foreplay without ever reaching a cacophonic orgasm.
I personally am a big fan of the way I can consume music now compared to several years ago. Even though I do sometimes slip up back into my old habits again e.g. I decided to fork out for ‘Does It Offend You, Yeah?’s album last week when I really should have just bought the single ‘We Are Rockstars’ instead as they are a prime example of what I’m talking about here; decent new band with a couple of really strong tracks supported by a high quality live show but the album contains too much mediocre material to make them interesting enough for a follow up album in my opinion.
Introducing artists like this may help to cull the guff that is inevitably released every year helping truly talented artists have a more sustained career in the long run but at the same time still allowing us to have those cheeky little one hit wonders that we all love so much. And before you start kicking off with all this “But won’t that stop us having such debut classics as the Arctic Monkey’s ‘Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not’?” Well it shouldn’t do in theory if the record labels do their job probably and develop artists in the manner they used to do (god bless nostalgia) and the cruel reality is; Record Labels usually have an inkling of what artists have longevity and which ones they’re only releasing as they’re in the current ‘buzz’ scene and they might make a quick buck or 2 on them.
All in all I’ll be very surprised (and a little disappointed) if Muse decided to go ahead with this idea as I’d suggest they’re simply too established to do it and it’d seem like copping out a little bit in my opinion.
Any thoughts from you lot then? Please do leave comments if you have them rather than emailing me as it can often be the fulcrum of a nifty little debate (like the one that’s going on underneath the ‘8 Things Unsigned Musicians Do Wrong’ post).
What I’m reading this week; Lost in Showbiz – The best of the worst Press Releases about; take note!