Track sequencing

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Lunkhead
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Track sequencing

Postby Lunkhead » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:33 am

I think we may have previously had a discussion about albums and putting out albums nowadays vs just releasing individual songs. Let's say hypothetically though that one has decided to put out an album. Given that, what do you folks think about the relevance of track sequencing (the order of the songs on tracks on the album) now? If you buy and listen to albums, do you only listen to them in the original order and does it matter a lot to you that they flow well in that order? Do you go back and only listen to favorite songs? Do you put some songs on playlists and not go back to the album? What have you observed other people doing in terms of their listening behavior around the original track order of an album?
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Re: Track sequencing

Postby ken » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:42 am

I still listen to albums and think track order is important, but not overly so. I've made albums in the past and made a big deal out of the order and I can't remember why it was so important at the time. I think it is just part of the creative process: you write songs, you organize them into albums, you put them out in the world, ???, profit!
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Re: Track sequencing

Postby Manhattan Glutton » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:48 am

I almost always listen to albums as a whole if I bought the album. Depends a little on the artist and quality of the album.
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Re: Track sequencing

Postby jb » Thu Jun 22, 2017 10:20 am

Spotify defaults to shuffle, so IMO track order doesn't matter for new albums that you don't already have the order ingrained like the White Album.

I don't even know how important it is to release songs all at once any more. But the systems don't make it easy to release an album a track at a time-- you kind of have to attach an album name to everything that's released. Schema flaw.

I do know that anybody who wants to make revenue from streaming should wait until the furor of Taylor Swift + Katy Perry dies down since it is likely they are going to eat all of the revenue for June and possibly July.

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Re: Track sequencing

Postby owl » Thu Jun 22, 2017 8:53 pm

I think it's probably best to frontload albums with tracks you think would be most likely to pull people in, because now that people can easily sample and judge albums, I think you'll get a lot of people listening to the first 20 seconds of the first 4 tracks and making a decision on whether to give an album more time based on that.
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Re: Track sequencing

Postby jast » Fri Jun 23, 2017 1:10 am

Listening habits are one thing. The other is that, to an extent, the ordering of the tracks is part of the artistic package. When people say the order doesn't matter, that's like saying all the effort you put into tracks a casual listener is hardly going to notice doesn't matter, either. That said, I wouldn't overthink it, either.

And to answer the question: I don't often get a whole album... but when I do, I like listening to it the way it was intended several times at least. After some time I usually listen to my favourites only, for the most part. I don't see most people I know listening to albums, I guess that's part of why I haven't bothered thinking about making one.
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Re: Track sequencing

Postby Pigfarmer Jr » Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:00 am

Sequencing always matters. It's just that it matters to less people now as less people listen to the entire album in order.

Or to put it another way, let's say someone randomly hits play on song four and listens to three songs. The order of four, five and six matters. But it's not likely that a many people will do that. And the frustrating part is there is seldom a perfect running order for any group of songs. You always make a sacrifice so that the whole sounds better than any group of three songs. (Although I tend to make smaller groups of songs and then put them together when sequencing an album length or longer group of songs.)

And, also, one way to make an album matter again is to have non musical tracks inserted at various points. Like Brad Paisley did with the "buckaroos" skits on some of his earlier albums (hell, maybe he still does it, my wife hasn't bought any of his albums for a while.) Or even as little as the Offspring did with "smash" with the intro to the first and second sides. (Remember when there were sides?) Obviously, this isn't a good fit for all albums, but maybe thinking outside the box can help with transitions as well. Use a pink floyd type of soundscape as an intro (or outro) can change the entire feel of one song to the next.

Re: the album vs single - I know it isn't this discussion, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that releasing singles before an album has been industry standard for a long, long time. Taking it to the next step where one releases all (or almost all) of the songs before the album doesn't seem like as big of stretch in that light.
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Re: Track sequencing

Postby roymond » Fri Jun 23, 2017 9:53 am

Tons of albums aren't sequenced by the artist, it's the mastering engineer. I can't speak to many modern releases, but the artistry of sequencing many an album made them work well beyond being a collection of single songs. Synergy.
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