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Festival Network Online Newsletter - Performer Edition -  February 2008

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A note from the FNO newsletter editor...

Hello FNO Bands and Performers,

Well it finally happened!  FNO got a face lift.  Thanks to all our beta testers who gave the new site a spin before it went live last week.  If you haven't seen it, please be sure to visit FNO!

Suzanne Glass of wrote this month's article about the end of the album and transitioning into the digital era in regards to music sales.

If you want to be featured in a future newsletter, send me your info.  Sorry, no featured artist this month.

Have a great weekend!
Julie Cochrane
FNO Marketing
Festival Network Online

« Newsletters Archive - To view previous newsletters, check out our archives! We publish 3 newsletters each month! Art/Craft, Food/Commercial, & Performer!

The End of the Album? by Suzanne Glass

But are albums going the way of the dinosaur? Digital music delivery makes it very easy for music fans to pick and choose among the songs they want to buy - and many of them pack their iPods with single songs, not albums. In 2005, album sales were down 7.2 percent, while sales of digital singles boomed - growing 150 percent, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Just 3 years ago, albums sales accounted for over 90 percent of all U.S. music sales. Last year, albums had sunk to 62 percent, while digital singles had grown to 35 percent of music sales. Not since the 1950's and 60's has the marketplace been driven by the single song to this degree.

How will this trend effect the music business and the artist?

There's no doubt artists prefer recording and selling their music as albums. Not only does it make financial sense, it makes artistic sense: the artist can record 10 or more songs at one time, and draw on current events or themes to create a discrete record of his/her creativity in the current time frame. Artists can spend a few months writing new songs, followed by a few months in the recording studio producing an album, followed by a few months on tour promoting the album. It all works artistically because each of those duties requires a unique focus - it might not work so well if the artist is asked to write, record, and tour all at the same time throughout the year.

Record labels naturally prefer albums because they pay better than singles. If an album only contains 1 or 2 hit songs, fans might decide to pass on the $15.00 album and buy only the 2 singles instead, for $1.98. Considering some 85 percent of all major label releases already lose money, it does not inspire confidence that their album releases will be consistently strong enough to rival the singles' sales. And that means an overall drop in revenue for labels (as well as artists, whose royalties will be reduced accordingly).

So if both labels and artists hate the singles market, what is driving its current success? Music fans!

Fans now listen to more music on iPods, computers, and other digital devices, and to less music on CD players and traditional radio. Online stores like iTunes and services like Rhapsody open up a completely new way to consume music. If I only like one song, or three songs, on an album, I can easily purchase just those songs and download them on my player. Even if I buy a whole digital album (usually at a lower price than the same album on CD), I can easily rearrange the sequence of songs, or mix up songs from different artists or albums, creating the ultimate personal playlist with all my favorites - and no album "filler" songs.

Consumers acquiring music like the new choices they are being presented with, and ultimately, the laws of supply and demand will probably dictate the outcome of the album vs. singles battle. For now, it looks like singles are winning, and there's no clear path for albums to regain their former dominance.

For musicians, an album-free marketplace will require major adjustments in both artistry and attitude. It's a good idea for artists to pay attention to the trends, and challenge themselves to produce and release music in units fans will actually buy. Clearly, in the near future, this will mean releasing singles, smaller collections of songs, or albums which are consistently strong enough to entice the buyer to purchase the full-length version.

Suzanne Glass is Founder, President, Editor, Marketing & Sales of

Featured FNO Musician -  No Feature this month, sorry!
The new site launch kept us super busy in Feb.!  Check back next month.

If you would like to be featured here, please email julie! Put FNO band feature in subject line. EMAIL: julie AT

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