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Do digital music stores hurt or help album sales?

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Joined: 15 years ago
Posts: 344
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Remember the good ol days when you went to buy an album and you only liked one song? Often you were stuck buying the whole CD/cassette for just the one song. When I did it, sometimes I discovered other songs I liked on the album but other times, not so much.

Since digital download stores such as iTunes, you can now buy single songs for $1.00 eliminating the need to buy the whole album. I know I can't speak for everyone, at least not until "the device" is completed, but I prefer being able to pick and choose what songs I want. If I'm after just a single, I can preview other songs in the album and decide if I want just the single or the whole album.

My question to you is this, do digital download stores force artists to make better albums? As in, better quality songs throughout the album so people will buy the albums as a whole rather than the singles. Or does it hurt album sales because people buy the singles and ignore the rest of the songs?

I believe it helps album sales since artists can't rely on just one good song to get an album sale and people can always preview the rest of the album to see if they like it.

What do you guys think and how do you prefer to buy your music?

"In what, twisted universe does mastering Eddie Van Halen's two handed arpeggio technique count as ABSOLUTELY NOTHING?!" - Dr Gregory House

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Joined: 20 years ago
Posts: 5366

I still like to buy the whole album - let's face it, they're dirt cheap in digital format. Some songs grow on you over time which you might write off as rubbish on day one.

But - I think the iTunes World Domination Plan which allows everybody to pick and choose individual tracks is harmful; people download the one song they want and maybe never go back to hear the rest, which hardly encourages bands to make the effort and produce a whole album of god music.

However, I do notice on iTunes that there are some songs which you cannot buy individually; only the full album. They all seem to be long tracks (more than ten minutes) but that might be coincidence. Either way, it gets my approval.

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