Paul Westerberg has a new album/song out: 49:00 It’s only available from Amazon and you can only buy the entire album as one long track. Oh, and it only costs ¢49. That’s right, 49 minutes of music* for ¢49.
In this age of a la carte downloads, it’s an interesting way to get people to not only download the entire album, but actually listen to it in the proper order. One thing, as a musician and music lover, that I lament in the new music economy is the loss of the “album” in exchange for a return to the “single”. There are so many albums in my collection that are best appreciated sitting down and listening to as the musicians and producers intended: in one sitting. I think far too many people don’t do this. And, with the industry moving to a system that favors single purchases over album purchases (something we haven’t had since the 60’s), it becomes difficult for musicians to put together an album thinking about the thing as a whole and how one song moves to the next.
I know when we were mastering Days Go By I put a lot of effort into thinking about the order of songs and how they would move from one to the next. In fact, there were a few songs that I wanted to start right when the previous song ended, or overlapping the end of one song with the beginning of the next. This is something you used to hear quite a bit on albums. The mastering engineer resisted this idea because of how it would sound if you were just listening to one of the songs on its own, and I was out-voted.
Having the entire album as one long track alleviates this problem, and he can still issue singles (particularly to radio stations – which is something I expect he’ll do) of some of the individual songs, if he chooses. It’s interesting to note that the full title seems to be 49 Minutes of Your
Time Life, which I think is a succinct way of saying what I lamented above.
At any rate, I can’t wait to get home later and download this track and spend 49 minutes of my life listening to it.
*Amazon actually lists it at 43:55 – I haven’t downloaded it yet to see what it actually is.