By George: Is the album almost extinct?

BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra Head of Music George Ergatoudis has reignited the debate about the future of the album, declaring LPs to be ‘edging closer to extinction’.

Espousing his views in this blog for BBC’s Newsbeat, Ergatoudis declared playlists on streaming services to be “the future”. He added: “We’re moving from this world of old music purchasing leading to people buying albums and singles, to a world where predominantly in the future most people are going to be effectively renting their music from a music streaming service.

The Radio 1 boss later added: “I’m not saying that artists are going to stop making albums, I’m not saying that albums aren’t artistically relevant and there will still be some amazing artists recording amazing albums”.

Reading between the lines, Ergatoudis was actually saying that streaming is the future and streaming is all about pushing playlists despite featuring albums. This also raises a pertinent point for the Boy George– Are curated playlists, tailored for different moods and activities on streaming services eventually going to displace radio altogether?

Such a transition has been on the cards for a while as the concept of sitting through an album of 69 Love Songs becomes increasingly alien to younger listeners. Of course, Manic Street Preachers, currently riding high at Number Two in the mid weeks with their 11th album or George Ezra, sticking at three for a second week with his debut album, may dispute the death of the LP.

The Official Charts Company’s stats support Ergatoudis’s view, with album sales across digital and physical formats down 6.4% year on year in 2013.

Streaming continued its steady ascent in the same period, surpassing the 100 million mark last year.

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