TUESDAY NEW RELEASES: Welcome to the “New Industry Normal.”

Excerpted from PJ Lifestyle — to read the entire article, click here— I highlight the best of new album and DVD / Blu-Ray releases, as well as interesting tech finds. It’s my weekly column, “Tuesday New Releases,” every week at PJ Lifestyle.

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As if one needed further proof of a downward-trending music industry, Adele’s 21 became the first album of the Soundscan era to lead all album sales two years running. In other words, nothing released during all of 2012 could unseat an album released in the first month of 2011. All that with Adele sidelined by vocal-chord issues and her pending pregnancy.

Taylor Swift tried and failed to block that path, with Red falling 1.3 million from 21 despite having four top ten hits, none of which ranked inside the year’s top ten overall. The year’s big winners — Gotye, Carly Rae Jepsen and Fun — dominated single sales with their first Hot 100 releases. No one knew their names when the year began, and it remains questionable whether either can follow it up.

With the fresh start a new year brings, we need to face facts: LPs no longer draw long-term interest from fans, who prefer the instant gratification of a viral hit single. And no matter how many singles get parceled out to radio stations month after month, an artist lives or dies by the success of the last one.

Singles don’t drive album sales — they simply drive demand for more singles.

Having sacrificed the long-term stability inherent in developing artists over the long term, labels must now watch as newcomers either instantly dominate or free-fall. Veteran acts, meanwhile, either find ways to continually churn out successful singles to dying radio while courting fickle audiences online or they cling to the hope that their next album will prove different. Just ask Aerosmith how that worked for them.

Welcome to the new industry normal. Observing which bands find ways to use these trends to their advantage will provide the real fun of chart-watching in 2013.


TUESDAY NEW RELEASES: A Fine Frenzy in the Shadow of Mumford

A Fine Frenzy

Can A Fine Frenzy unseat Mumford at the top of the charts?

Today marks the launch of my new “Tuesday New Releases” column at PJ Lifestyle. As it has only been up a few hours, I’m just linking to the column there. I hope you’ll check it out:

With so much new music, movies and technology available on a weekly basis, even the most plugged-in people find it difficult to find the truly interesting products. Here at PJ Lifestyle we’re all about keeping it simple. Check in each Tuesday for information about current album and DVD/BluRay releases, along with hot new technology and gadgets you’re sure to want to make your own.

This week on the music side, I’ve highlighted albums from A Fine Frenzy (Pines), Jamey Johnson (Livin’ For a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran) and Rah Rah (The Poet’s Dead) which are now out in the US, as well as past weeks’ albums from Ben Folds Five, The Mountain Goats and Diane Krall. The list ends with some cool tech finds, which may interest you as we near the Holiday shopping rush.

As usual, if you have any suggestions which might improve the column — albums, artists or products you think deserve to have a wider audience, please feel tree to email me at kroessman@gmail.com.