Music streaming removes the art of the album

Megan Woolard

More stories from Megan Woolard

Music streaming services have revolutionized the way we consume music. You have access to an infinite amount of music for under ten bucks a month.

Now with streaming I can easily have access to practically all the music ever created. And I can stream it anytime and anywhere. That’s literally the coolest thing in the world. I stream hours of music a day and it’s freakin’ awesome.

On the other hand it can be a not so great. Streaming has changed the way consumers listen to music and it has also changed the way artists create music. With such a large selection of music available to the public, artists struggle to stand out.

Back in the day artists would create actual albums. Like a collection of 10 plus songs released every few years or so. That doesn’t really happen the same way anymore.

Artists need to fight to gain relevance or keep it. The album format doesn’t lend itself well to such an endeavor. To combat this, many artists have decided to essentially flood the market. There are so many freaking singles out there. And I hate it so much.

Even well-known artists are starting to flood the market. Camila Cabello has released 4 singles in only a little over a month. No one needs that many singles. Even if the music is good the distribution process has just negatively altered the way we consume music.

The new trend has been to release a series of singles spaced out over a relatively short time period. Then compile all those singles into some sort of EP type of format. It isn’t the actual product that has suffered. Music released in this format can still be good.

For example, Fletcher a newer artist released an EP titled “You Ruined New York City for me.” The EP itself is fantastic. Each of the songs is raw, honest and has great production. But there is one problem. The EP only has 5 songs on it and 3 out of the 5 were released as singles prior to the release of the EP.

It just changes the listening experience in a way that I despise. I love the feeling of listening to a whole album start to finish for the first time. I don’t get that with this new format. First off most of the songs on these EPs I’ve already been listening to since they have previously been released. The excitement of going through the album and not knowing what to expect is nonexistent now.

The other problem is that there just aren’t that many songs. So I can listen to the whole thing in less than 30 minutes. I just want more. I completely understand why new artists are embracing this new format. Streaming isn’t exactly kind to artists and at least this way they can continually generate at least a little bit of buzz to keep their career from fading away. But I hate that albums have to be a casualty of the streaming world.

A great album can take you on a journey with the creator. A collection of songs woven together that tell a cohesive story. It’s one of the truest forms of music. But this art form is dying. Streaming has helped the music industry immensely, but it’s also starting to claim the life of an essential part of music. I want albums. I don’t want a collection of singles. We need to keep the art of the album alive before it’s gone for good.