Music Releases Shift From Albums to Singles and EPs


Stephen Blackwell
Stephen Blackwell

Stephen Blackwell is a respected presence in the music and entertainment industry who led SpinMedia as CEO and guided a brand that include assets such as Spin and Vibe. Currently engaged in consulting and investing capacities, Stephen Blackwell maintains a close watch on the music industry.

With music streaming on platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify experiencing rapid growth, revenues in the music industry have risen once again. A panel event at the recent FastForward conference in Holland drew attention to what this means for artists.

One key change has been that the new release rollout process has been truncated or eliminated. This reflects the difficulty of focusing fans’ minds on a specific future event in a world of real-time virality and increased habits of listening to playlists rather than complete albums. The result is that artists release singles and EPS much more frequently than before, with albums relegated to the back-burner.

One extreme example of this approach involved Arcade Fire putting out eight singles prior to the release of their latest album. In many ways, this has shifted the album release from being an anticipated event to the “culmination of a campaign event.”