Earlier this week, Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips announced the next project for the band may not be an album. Instead, he’s considering recording singles, releasing them as videos, and then collecting the videos up as a film – much like a “video album,” an experiment from the early days of home video.
While it is an interesting turn, albeit one of great concern to those interested in the Lips’ all-inclusive concept albums, it’s not particularly a new one. Throughout 2010, Kanye West premiered songs for free on his site, some of which arrived on his latest album. Rush debuted two tracks as an iTunes single, purportedly as a taste of what was to come from their upcoming Clockwork Angels album. However, because of the positive response from their Time Machine Tour, those album plans have been pushed back, by some reports indefinitely.
It begs the question: while the single, in digital form, has been the dominant form for many years now, have we seen the tipping point? Artists that clung to the album-as-end-product method of production are veering away from it, while a small handful cling to the notion. Have we crossed the line where they are now exception but never the rule?