But just as everyone is about to jump for joy at the promising slate of fall releases (particularly in light of a year three fourths gone now, that has provided little in the way of true star power), leave it to Fall Out Boy's manager Bob McLynn to burst that bubble with the following quote:
"Everyone's trying to put out a record while they still can. Who knows if you still can put out fucking records a year or two from now? Is it going to be online only? Is it going to be singles?"
So much for at least one potential answer to the question of where things may be headed.
What makes the Rolling Stone article really interesting however, is the way it shows how record label executives continue to carry on with an arrogant business as usual sort of nonchalance. Even as the walls of their ivory towers in New York and Los Angeles are crumbling all around them, they remain soporifically oblivious.
The days of multi-platinum smashes like Thriller, Hotel California, or Born In The USA are long gone, and don't look to be coming back anytime soon. Many of the biggest album sellers this year — Kid Rock, Jonas Brothers, Mariah Carey — aren't even double platinum (two million sold). Even more telling is the number of artists — Nas and Sugarland for example — perceived to have produced a hit album that hasn't even sold a million.
Neil Diamond, love him or hate him, is certainly an icon and arguably one of the most successful songwriters ever.
On the surface, Diamond's latest release Home After Dark has everything going for it. It's produced by Rick Rubin, arguably the hottest knob twister in the business (go ahead, name a producer who's hotter right now). It's not only Diamond's "comeback," but believe it or not, it's also the first #1 album of his entire career. All of that, and Home After Dark hasn't even sold 500,000 copies — the magic number for a certified gold record.
Not only do the days of the blockbuster multi-platinum seller appear to be gone forever — platinum and gold records themselves may not be far behind. So in the light of such statistics, as well as the increasing dominance of the mostly singles-driven MP3 format, when Fall Out Boy's manager muses aloud that we be may a year or two away from no more full length albums period, it becomes a statement not nearly as unthinkable as it first sounds.
Incidentally, I must give credit where credit is due for the above statistics about record sales. You can verify these for yourself by checking out a website called the The Lefsetz Letter.