According to Lefsetz, ‘the
People can not only buy the singles they want, but they can also mix their own playlists. They play the SONGS they want, not generally the ALBUMS. In many cases, there is only one song on the album that is any good. Commercial Radio stations (remember them?) only play the singles anyway.
This is not news to anyone. I’ve thought this ever since first hearing the term ‘One-Hit Wonder’.
So why bother writing an album? Why not just write a hit?
Of course, it does not work that-a-way. I can tell you firsthand that when a group gets together and writes songs, they don’t know which one is going to be The One (if any at all). If it were that easy, the entire album would be filled with hits! Oh, the band has their favorites, and their not-as-favorites, they might even have some ‘throwaway’ or ‘filler’ songs that don’t SUCK per se, but they aren’t single-worthy. But part of any hit is hook, and part is luck.
Lefsetz is right that the record companies would be nothing but wise to change from the Album paradigm to the Single paradigm. The majority of the consumers already have. Perhaps releasing songs one track at a time is a better distribution method? Doesn’t it suck to wait YEARS for your favorites band’s next release? Wouldn’t it be cool if your favorite band released a new single EVERY MONTH instead? Wouldn’t it keep your interest in a band longer? Hell, by the time Tapes-N-Tapes release another stiff, you won’t remember that you even bought their old one!