Do you still purchase complete albums?

Do you still purchase complete albums? Have you made the transition to purchasing single songs? Let’s look at the question from two different angles with two simple polls:

[polldaddy poll=5962833]

Breaking it down a different way:

[polldaddy poll=5962837]

For those who generally or always purchase less than a full album: Is there anything an artist could produce (other than a live concert) that you would value at more than $10 in a given year? From concept albums to off-the-wall ideas, let’s hear it!


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36 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. I like the immediacy of MP3s and the ability to get a particular song you want fast, but I prefer CDs and whole albums. First of all, the CDs are better quality, one can rip Wavs to put on their computers or MP3 players or even MP3s if desired, but still have the fixed project in case the audio files get corrupted, erased etc. I like the inserts and info as well. I like whole albums because there could be songs I don’t know I like until I hear them. Many times even with favorite groups I find I like some of the album cuts over the singles chosen for release. So, I get whole albums by groups I know I like, but even generally if I like a particular song from a group I have just discovered by a song I have heard. I figure if they do one song I like, chances are there are others I will like. With the possible (but rare at best) exception of the artist who does a style or possibly are not singers I particularly care for, I will get an album. I guess it is possible that a particular song I like is a fluke and thus I would just want that, but I can’t think of any examples offhand.

    • That’s right around where I fall. There are rare occasions where I’ll purchase a single song, but I almost always buy the whole thing. And, like you, I often like album cuts more than the singles.

      And now that I’m not living in the listening area of any SG station, it’s almost a moot point for me what goes to radio!

  2. Great poll, Daniel. I’m very interested to see the results. The market is changing and it would be interesting to see a poll like this again in a year or so to see what change . . . if any.

    • Thanks! I know that other genres have largely rolled over to single-purchase-driven. From random conversations, I have started to suspect that single-song purchasing is hitting critical mass in SG.

      One thing that would also be fascinating would be if an artist would be willing to divulge percentages. We don’t need to know dollar figures, of course, but it would be interesting to know what the breakdown of percentages of single vs. full album looks like from your vantage point.

      • I look into it and let you know.

      • Thanks!

      • * I’ll look into it and let you know.

      • I knew that was what you meant! 🙂

  3. I always buy full projects. When my favorite groups release a new recording, I will usually buy a digital copy if it is available, then eventually buy physical copies of their last few projects in a concert special. I like having the physical CD as an archive and for the liner notes.

    • What percentage of one’s purchases are digital is a fascinating topic for a poll of its own.

    • I am in total agreement with Brandon on this. I like having the physical copy in case of a hard drive failure.

      • I back up my music collection to an external hard drive several times a year in case of a hard drive failure. I also back it up to a separate drive stored offsite (at my parents’ house on the other side of the country) twice a year, in case of fire or other natural catastrophe. Admittedly, going to those great lengths is more due to the irreplaceable value of book drafts and other things than to back up the music collection! 🙂

      • The music would be reason enough for me to go to those lengths!

      • Plus, many times a MP3 player can serve as an external hard drive. Its just as easy to take songs off your MP3 player and on a new computer as it is putting songs on your MP3 player.

    • I back up all of my songs on the iCloud. So if I ever did, for whatever reason, lose all of my music, I would be able to retrieve it easily.

  4. For me, I tend to purchase a single song that I have heard. That usually causes me to look into the project it came from, and I’ll usually download the entire album. I rarely ever buy and actually CD, though. I prefer to just have the digital copies.

    • That should read I rarely buy an actual CD.

  5. I prefer to have a physical copy of a project, but if it is available digitally and its a group that I won’t be seeing live, I will download their project. I do like to find new groups to listen to, so I’ll download a couple of their songs based on the samples I hear, and if I like what I downloaded, I’ll purchase the rest of the project.

  6. Yea, its always whole projects for me!

  7. I am of a similar mindset in that I never know if there is going to be a “hidden gem” somewhere. Some of my favorite songs are songs that I never would’ve heard if I didn’t get the whole project.

    As of late, I have been taking SOME advantage of digital downloads, but I almost always wind up purchasing the physical version at some point. In contrast, I lost my physical copy of Mercy’s Mark’s debut label project, and rather than put in a special order at a store or order it online, I simply got it from iTunes. In instances such as that, where an album is still in print but not routinely carried in stores, I will go to iTunes route unless it’s one I am really interested in.

    Like Quartet Man, I am also very big on credits and liner notes. One of the first things I do when I get a new CD (other than listen to it!) is read the entire packaging notes. I can tell you off the top of my head who wrote quite a few songs (of multiple genres). Is there any usefulness to this? Perhaps, if I find a song that I enjoy enough to want to cover myself….I know where to start looking for mechanical licenses. Also, as a songwriter myself, I enjoy studying songwriting patterns of certain individuals.

    From a technological standpoint, I work with computers on a daily basis, and while they are capable of some amazing feats, at the end of the day, I DO NOT trust a computer enough to not have a hard copy of something. I know of one instance where a MAJOR project had been completed and ready for mastering, and when the hard drive arrived with the project, the album was gone. Not just corrupt, COMPLETELY GONE. They did everything in their power to try to retrieve the project, but in the end, they had to start over from scratch, delaying the project for at least another year due to scheduling conflicts.

  8. I buy the cds, this way it can’t be lost when changing computers, mps players etc. Also it is too easy to erase digital downloads and be lost overtime. I hope someday my kids and grandkids will enjoy all this music I’ve collected. Right now they aren’t interested but who knows the future.

  9. It really depends for me, i USUALLY get an entire album if i am a fan of the artist. Like if its a Kingsmen album or Gold City ect, I will usually just download it. If its a group i’m just getting into, then i may be a little more hesitant to download it all but maybe a familiar song or two (or something that looks interesting). I’ve noticed alot of times if i like the song I wind up downloading the rest!

    I know we are talking about Southern Gospel, but for other genres of music, I’m pretty much more by individual song. For some CCM songs, I may just want a particular song by an artist and never go back to hear the rest. Unless the sound and music really grabs me, I usually don’t go back. There was that one weak moment the other day when I downloaded some Adele tracks 🙂

    • I gotta admit, Adele’s music is definitely growing on me….

  10. Even though there are only 2-3 songs on an album that might be my favs at the time-by the time I listen to the whole album several times I usually find that I like them all. All songs do not touch me in the same way-and all songs don’t touch people the same way it might touch me.

  11. I am probably somewhat in the minority here, but 99% of my music is digital downloads. The only way I buy a physical project is if it is vintage and odds are it will not ever be available digitally.

    If I am at a SG concert & they have a deal too good to pass up, I will but the product, and then immediately transfer it to my laptop, as well as an external HD for a backup. (and Dropbox for a 3rd backup just in case!) 🙂

    I have a ton of music in my collection and the main reason I buy digitally vs. otherwise, is because:
    1. I almost never look at the CD insert for lyrics, author, comments, etc.
    2. I basically will only listen to music either on my laptop or my iPhone.
    3. I can be assured that the recording will be there! (I hate pulling out a CD and it skips due to scratches!)

  12. I always buy physical cds and sometimes multiple copies of them for collecting. The only time I buy mp3s on iTunes is when there is a song I like that is hard to find or the cds are sold nearby eg. Kingdom Heirs

  13. I mean the cds ARE’NT sold nearby

  14. I purchase only the CD from a reliable US distributor in PA.
    I live in another country. Postage is reasonable and I get the product
    with relatively few hassles.

    • I presume Shorty is talking about Springside and yes, they are great. As far as mail order goes they are one of the places I get the most from. The only issue with them at times is the can’t keep the older stuff on hand quite as much. After probably a few years or so they liquidate. So, you might find the last 3 projects of an artist from them (if that). But as far as more recent releases and their new item discount as well as their fast, free shipping with $40 or more they are hard to beat. I have dealt with them since very early in their history. After that, Amazon gets my business a lot. I get through artists online too. I would buy more at concerts if I made them and when I do I have taken advantage of specials.

  15. Hi Daniel. I just read your email about one minute ago. I apologize for being sarcastic. I like your blog and enjoy the posts and the news. The reason I’m typing here is because I didn’t have your email to reply. If you think that I don’t know about Southern Gospel I encourage you to quiz me all you want. You have my email. I do like to joke around and be lighthearted about some issues. I like bass singers and think he’s the best. And I like to hear others opinions of who they think is the best. So I’m sorry for my attitude and I ask you to forgive me. I believe we can be great friends. I hope so anyway 🙂 Gold bless

    • Forgiven! 🙂

      If I send you an email, most emails permit you to hit reply and that reveals my email address. 🙂

  16. I did not mean to send that twice. I hope we can be friends Daniel. You’re my brother in Christ anyway. May as well be friends

    • Thanks, and I’m open to it as well!

  17. Could you delete the multiple posts please 🙂

  18. Daniel when you were younger did you have a website about spurgeon

    • No, I didn’t.

      I’m happy to join in off-topic discussions, but could you take further off-topic questions/discussions to a Saturday News Roundup / open thread? Thanks!