A few months ago I wrote a blog post about the end of ‘album’ as a mainstream music release format, demonstrated by purchase, download and streaming data. According to the finding by RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), based on the album releases in 2018, listeners usually listen only up to three songs on an album. Of course, it is not all dark, as we are all music lovers and we have certain albums that we will always listen from beginning to the end. However, it does mean that album is probably losing its status as the mainstream music release model.
This is due to the rise of the streaming model, where artists are encouraged to release singles every 2-3 months, rather than an album ever 2-3 years. While getting new music for listeners might be exciting, for the artist perspective, releasing an album is not the same as releasing a single. It’s certainly a beautiful procedure to come up with a concept and pursue it with different movements and colors in a group of compositions. So, under these circumstances, artists need to find new ways to release their albums. One of these ways is releasing vinyl exclusives. Another one would be releasing video-albums where every track corresponds with a music video, creating an exciting visual element.
Another idea is to sell albums exclusively within a service or app. Moby recently took this last route, which sounds very exciting and interesting for us independent artists. The album is called Long Ambients 2, where Moby released on the meditation music app, Calm. The album was released on Calm on March 15, which is World Sleep Day, and will stay exclusive for 30 days. The app is free to download, but it also has premium subscription with extra features.
Long Ambients 2 is a sequel to Moby’s 2016 album Long Ambients 1, which was an another interesting release in partnership with file sharing app, WeTransfer. Moby says that this album is a collection of tracks he originally created for himself to help with sleeping. There are six tracks with each track being 37 minutes long, which is a pretty cool experience!
Of course, album exclusives are not a new strategy. Many of us will remember how TIDAL started with the exclusive music model featuring artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Beyonce, Rihanna etc. However, I do think Moby’s strategy is a little different and more useful than TIDAL, because in this case his music can be utilized for a specific purpose, for meditation and sleeping. This helps establish a direct connection with the listeners, as they will be listening to music not just to ‘check out the new Moby album, but also for meditation and sleeping.
In the streaming age, finding ways to use music beyond the traditional listening experience is very rewarding. Streaming apps are very accommodating for the artists who want to integrate their music with our daily activities. Moreover, these partnerships not only help artists generate more revenue, but they also they help with introducing first time listeners to the rest of the music catalog. This can help artists get more fans, and eventually create more revenue with a mix of recorded and live music.
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new album ‘Aurora’ was released on October 19, 2018 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com