December 11, 2008
Rethinking the “album”
Albums used to be songs, liner notes, and cover art. Doesn’t work any more. Albums now must be the collection of social objects created during the process of writing and creating the songs. Once the album is completed, the artist’s site (not their damnable MySpace page) becomes the central repository/point of dispensation for these social objects. People come to the artist’s site to gather the social objects. They then share these social objects in order to convert others. These others then come to the artist’s site for more.
Rethinking the album process apropos of social object creation
In order to fully appreciate the importance of social objects, consider the process of making a record.
The process itself becomes a social object. Prior to note one being recorded, a micro site/blog dedicated to the project/album (which is connected to the artist’s main site) is created. The microsite/blog is shareable; it exposes and (hopefully/axiomatically) attract people to the artist’s main site.
As the project continues, so too does the creation of more social objects.
The micro site/blog for the project (again housed on/connected to the main site) collects email addresses/Twitter followers/FB friends and communicates to these followers regarding the process.
Notes on the progress of the recording are posted to the blog, demos of songs are posted, videos are posted, photos are posted. Naturally, all of these are shareable/embed-able. Naturally, they all reference the artist’s main site.
The documentation continues with the making of the record; video, sample tracks, interviews, photos, commentary. All of these represent social objects being created.
Importantly, these social objects operate at their highest level when they are not a monologue but rather a conversation. As the songs are posted, the constituents could, for example, have a say in the order of the songs on the record, etc. The result is an injection of energy.
If the tools used to create these social objects are things like Flip cameras and a blog, there is little cost involved with either the creation of the social objects or the platform.
It’s important to differentiate the album/project’s microsite/blog from the artist’s main site. The blog/micro site serves a different, albeit related, purpose than the main site. The main site is gathering place for the artist’s tribe. The microsite/blog is the central repository/dispensation point of the accumulated social objects connected to the specific project.
Remember, the album redefined is a collection of social objects.
Over time, an artist will create numerous interconnected blogs/microsites that each represent the neo-album (the collection of social objects for specific albums/projects). Each are connected with the others and with the main site, but each have a unique perspective and purpose. Ultimately, these become the artist’s new catalog.
The old concept of the album is dead. However, we now have an opportunity – if we think in terms of social objects – to reinvent the album.