Does dance music need albums?

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“The album is dead, man”. That’s Sam La More, speaking to inthemix with his Tonite Only partner in crime GT earlier in the year. Having reunited under the Tonite Only moniker to release some new material and plot a new live show, the pair discussed the prospect of producing a full album, which according to them would be an unnecessary and futile exercise in the current climate of dance music. “I mean, we could release an album if we wanted to. We’ve got an album’s worth of tunes that would be ready to go out tomorrow, but with things the way they are now you just have to think ‘what’s the point?’ because nobody listens to albums anymore anyway.”

While you can excuse La More for a generalising just a bit there he has touched on something that has been troubling the dance music community in particular recently. As physical music sales continue dwindle in the face of widely adopted digital formats the literal and figurative value of an album has likewise been diminished.

For Alexis Taylor of UK electronic troupe Hot Chip, the album’s mystique and importance has been rubbed off in the recent shift towards digital platforms, with retailers like iTunes, Juno, Beatport et al offering convenience store-esque services to music consumers who can now pick and choose a random sampling of an album instead of the total package as thoughtfully constructed by an artist.

“I remember going to record shops and being in awe looking up at all the aisles and shelves filled with records,” Taylor explains. “There’s not that same feeling any more; it doesn’t seem as special. Now you get the tracks on your computer and you can see a tiny little square of the artwork on the corner of your screen. To me that just feels arbitrary.”

While album purists could easily go blue in the face arguing the point, the long and short of the problem can be found in the immediate nature of media consumption today. With everyone in pursuit of the next instantaneous hit the current landscape is simply not conducive to considered, long-form statements such as artist albums.

“That’s probably right,” agrees US big gun AC Slater of the issues facing album-ambitious musicians. “I don’t want to be negative but I can’t but feel like a lot kids don’t even know what an album is. You can put all this time and effort into making the perfect album that you always dreamed of creating and it’ll probably disappear really quickly. Kids will really only get one or two tracks online and that’s it. I feel like an album is just going to be a personal thing for artists these days. Especially if you’re a dance artist, that’s going to be a personal project that’s really for you and your peers than it is for 17 year old girls in clubs.”

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bonfiglio said on the 6th Apr, 2011

Make better music. Crisis averted!


ticketsplease said on the 6th Apr, 2011

Is the pope catholic...? And help pedaphile's get away with their terrible crimes?

It helps if you make an actual album, not a cd with 12 singles on it.


Yakk372 said on the 6th Apr, 2011

Yeah, ticketsplease is right, any number of singles is not an album. If the album works, people will listen to it as an album, if not, people will pick singles off of it.

Eros le Tardfack

Eros le Tardfack said on the 6th Apr, 2011

itm, your sample set is skewed heavily in the direction of people that make shit music. speak to chemical bros, underworld, matirx, chase and status or anthony rother and get back to us.


aRibro said on the 6th Apr, 2011

dance music albums are shit anyway. you have about 1 or 2 good tunes, and the rest is junk created to fill up the album.

dance music is all about singles, mix cds, and live sets.
its so much more enjoyable listen to a set a dj has played at lets say dance valley, than it is to listen to their artist album.


MitchhctiM said on the 6th Apr, 2011

"whats the point? because nobody listens to albums anymore anyway."

Is this genuinely a serious comment? :S


Fierce_Brosnan said on the 6th Apr, 2011

albums have little meaning if you're just making disposable club music


daverh said on the 6th Apr, 2011

You have a point there about the comments being from perhaps a too-narrow section of the dance community. I had some from others but they just didn't fit in as the feature ballooned out. However, I think you should put aside your feelings towards the music of each of those artists and just take them as figures in the dance scene that've had success on a relative scale and are therefore qualified to talk about such an issue.


Ruskhouse said on the 6th Apr, 2011

is sam la more saying that because he seriously hasnt got anything to his name since tonite only? cool tours at the fiddler bro


christo93 said on the 6th Apr, 2011

man, this is depressing. i'm just 18 now and I can remember buying albums since I can remember. My first one was Fat of the Land by The Prodigy when I was like, 10 or so. If anything, there needs to be more proper artist albums, not just frequent releases of 12 singles, as ticketsplease said. Lookin' at you Rusko.


dn-ul said on the 6th Apr, 2011

those artist have all had success but its been through making disposable music. if you are a real artist and a composer (not a promoter/dj who can make arrange loops) you wont have a problem in releasing a edm album, look at nicolas jaar, lucy or babicz


nathman said on the 7th Apr, 2011

defs needs albums, most of the time the remix albums like MOS and One Love are just heaps dud.


nathman said on the 7th Apr, 2011

lolin hard at the Ruskhouse post


alchemy1983 said on the 7th Apr, 2011

thats exactly right , make better music, alot of EDM artists are still stuck on that routine of making a few ambient tracks on their albums that nobody listens to fill up a cd . terrible . besides not enough talent out there like the old days , where producers were proper producers , now days its all a flick of a button .


m_xt said on the 7th Apr, 2011

I've loved the last 2 Pantha Du Prince albums, I really enjoy sitting down with a beer and listening to them all the way through, while the individual tracks are good the album is more than the sum of it's parts. The songs would still be good but not have the same effects as part of an itunes library set to shuffle, this can be said for many albums, also Royksopp Senior and Avalanches come to mind. As has been said in other comments if your a producer who became famous for producing 'bangers!!!11!' then you album will be just that and may as well only be released as individual tracks online.


brenly said on the 7th Apr, 2011

Does dance music need albums? of course it bloody does. albums are basically all i listen to now. right now i'm listening to some of gabriel & dresden's old albums... bloom... what an album! before that was crystal method's vegas, before that eelke kleijn's untold stories, 00.db, four tet, cinnamon chasers, man the list goes on... nicolas jaar, paul kalkbrenner... not to mention the mix albums... balance, involver/2, transitions etc etc etc. anyways, what do i care... i'm avin fun.


Spectrum said on the 7th Apr, 2011

"Sam La More, speaking to inthemix with his Tonite Only partner in crime GT"
"‘what’s the point?’ because nobody listens to albums anymore anyway.”

Well whose fault is that?

Oh, and...



rubbishtalk said on the 7th Apr, 2011

Kids these days can access music so easily on line and cheaply (or for free) that music has become disposable so none of them are going to bother buying albums!!! It's not just dance music, it's all music!


angy said on the 8th Apr, 2011

There aren't very many dance artists who get the album concept right, and achieve something more than a series of disconnected club singles. Technasia's superb 'Central' album from last year was one example where they actually did it right - but here are a few examples of where artists didn't really get the format right...


sizmos said on the 11th Apr, 2011

albums are still needed, i would say it would actually lead to fixing the dance music genre, as pop artists coming out with crappy 1 hit wonder electro tracks wont have anything to keep them going in the genre... best example of a true album:


walkdogz said on the 11th Apr, 2011

Dance music doesn't, electronic music does.


Derelict said on the 11th Apr, 2011

If it's a proper album that has a theme, a story and actually goes somewhere, then yes it has a place. If it's just a compilation of tracks that some muppet compiled in a month, then no, no place.

Hardstyle suffers from this syndrome horribly. All the hardstyle albums to date have also contained radio edits, so if DJs want to play the tracks out they have to wait to buy the samplers. Blatant money making.


THE_JZA said on the 12th Apr, 2011

the concept of an album has really been lost in recent years. a few decent singles and two thirds filler seems to be the MO for dance albums. what happened to progression, an album that embraces the concept of a journey? thats why nobody buiys albums, you just download the few decent tracks off the album.


cozza147 said on the 12th Apr, 2011

four tet - there is love in you
seekae - dome
mount kimbie - crooks and lovers
gui boratto - take my breath away
matthew dear - black city
way out west - we love machine

examples of real good artist album made in last couple of years that have been made my artists who love what they do and aren't just in for a profit.