The first album I bought was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller”.
I can still remember walking into the record shop at the top of Cashel Mall, Christchurch with a month’s worth of pocket money in my hand…desperate to get a copy.
The album contained:
Hits like “Beat It”, “Thriller” and “Billie Jean.”
Contributions from Beatles legend Paul McCartney, guitar maestro Eddie Van Halen, and members of yacht rockers, Toto.
Plus, a weird (to my 12-year-old eyes) photo of MJ in a white suit with a tiger cub on his knee.
Yet despite the strange photo, it was/is a monster success with an estimated 70+ million copies sold worldwide.
A figure achieved on the back of massive radio air play and a ground-breaking video (for the song “Thriller”) that raised the bar for music video production.
All that… and it contained just 9 songs.
Which is in stark contrast to what we see today… with the rise of the “MEGA “album.
Like Taylor Swift’s “Midnights” at 20 tracks.
Drake’s “Scorpion” at 25.
And most recently, Morgan Wallen’s “One Thing at A Time” at a whopping 36.
Now, all three are talented artists who (obviously) have a lot to say.
But could something else be at play here?
Some – perhaps cynically – think so.
You see, success in the music business is no longer solely about radio airplay and music videos.
Instead…ever since the Billboard 200 chart changed “the rules” … streaming numbers also count.
Which means, deliberate or not, producing multi-track albums is a smart strategy to adopt.
For proof of this, we need look no further than the fact 28 of the current Billboard Hot 100 songs come from Morgan Wallen’s 36-song behemoth, “One Thing At A Time”.
Of course, the music itself still has to be good.
But combining quality with QUANTITY increasingly looks like THE winning strategy in the music business in 2023.
A situation down to technology and a change in the “rules of the game.”
Which leaves me with a couple of questions for you to ponder:
- Have the “rules of the game” changed in your industry?
- And is your marketing strategy still a winning one, or is it causing your business to slide down the hit parade?