Check out this link to Mark Cuban's blog (I didn't know he had one either) posting about his take on the music industry. Cuban suggests that there is strong evidence that folks are willing to buy digital singles, but not albums (physical or otherwise), because it's easier to stomach spending $.99 a pop, and that if an artist released music over a "season", like a television series, people would get interested in stringing the purchases out over time. While I agree that it's certainly easier to get consumers to pay $.99 a song rather than shell out $13+ for a whole album, Cuban is missing a key fact. The songs that people are purchasing in high volume at $.99/song are hits. If it was so easy to record and produce and market and promote a string of bona-fide hits, his suggestion might make some sense. In fact, Cuban points to Flo Rida's "Low" as the illustrative example. Yeah, #1 record, tons of sales. But how much money does a label have to spend to make a hit? And, how many artists are signed that the same amount is spent on that don't have hits and thus can't sell- singles or otherwise. Unfortunately, that's why I think Cuban's argument fails. But I like the fact that someone is thinking differently, because the way we are thinking now obviously isn't working at all.
UPDATE: Here is a response to this article from Steve Guttenberg hoping that the creativity of the album as an artform is presrved.