Music

Album ordering

The concept of an “album” of music has been decried by some as an outmoded restriction imposed on us in a time of physical media. To some extent, I agree with that, and what I’m doing with Mergers & Acquisitions, Inc. is in direct response to it. In that case, the track list isn’t static, and I’ll be putting more into it in the future.

However, I don’t think that the anti-album sentiment is completely true, and I’m taking a more traditional approach with Results Not Typical. In such an album, the order of presented tracks is vital. The feel of this album is quite dynamic, with soft piano on some songs, crunchy blues guitars on others, and a whole range of oddities in between. I even have one track that was recorded entirely using the Wavedrum, and nothing else. Some are long, many are short, and each is unique.

So how does one go about picking the order of songs? The best solution I’ve come up with is just listening to it again and again, paying attention to the transition points, and feeling what works and what doesn’t. The first and last songs are already settled: “Setting Out” and “Closure”, respectively. But I still have to figure out what journey I want to take people on in between. It just so happens that there’s a fair bit to see along this road.

An added consideration this time around is the fact that, for the first time, I’m going to be using a printing service to handle the insert cards for the physical CDs. Thus far, all of my physical albums have been completely home made. Now I have yet to see their results in person, but CD Poster Shop looks to be pretty promising. Small runs, pretty low cost, and almost certainly higher quality than what I could pop out of my home printer. I’ll still be running the CDs themselves at home, and they’ll still be CDRs with LightScribe-printed labels, since I don’t sell enough copies to warrant a regular replication run. But I am selling enough copies to make printing the disc inserts a bit of a pain. A downside to this is that it does add another week or two of lead time to the project being fully released, since I need to have the final song list and ordering set before I can purchase the insert cards.

As far as the album itself goes, I’m just about done with 15 of the 17 tracks right now. I might make a few tweaks to the ones that are “done” before ultimate release, but the songs are at least in their final format. The last two are at least started, and I’m on track to get it out by the end of summer. The release will almost certainly happen on Bandamp first, followed by physical sales on CDBaby, with availability on iTunes, Amazon, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, and all kinds of other places like that following some time after.

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5 thoughts on “Album ordering”

  1. What do you think about the “return of the single” as driven by single song internet downloads? this is the model my band has taken of late. less studio time, more focus on quality vs quantity, and frequent web releases, which the giant internet brain seems to like better, at least as reflected by google’s algorithm. http://guppyeffect.wordpress.com

    thanks!

    joe

    1. I think that the single-at-a-time has its place in the world, and it’s certainly enabled by new self-publishing technologies that are out there. But I do think that there’s still a place for a collection-of-songs as found in a traditional album setup.

      Part of this is that I don’t really write the kind of Pop Hits that drive single-based sales. I like to bring songs together that interrelate with each other into a kind of cohesive whole. I’ve definitely sold a lot more in the way of whole albums than individual tracks, even though my stuff has always been available in both formats.

      But I don’t really drive much in the way of sales either way, so what do I know? šŸ™‚

  2. I agree. I never want the “concept album” to die. But the internet download format allows for more 3 to 5 song collections than say the full 10 to 12 songs albums used to mandate. i liked (old) Rush’s approach of having the concept tracks on one side of the record and single songs on the other.

    1. I agre that it opens the way for EPs and other shorter collections, and that’s a good thing. I think your idea about album sides is interesting, but for the fact that albums haven’t had “sides” in a very long time.

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