How can the album be recentered as a relevant and meaningful listening experience in the streaming age?
Aim and Objective
For my Graphic Design MA final major project, I chose to investigate the decline of the album format in the streaming age.
This is a very personal topic to me. I still remember taking a detour on my way home from school (and sometimes during) to HMV in Camden Town. I can vividly recall the excitement and anticipation I felt upon pushing open the glass double doors. I would head straight to the rock/pop section and flick through rows upon rows of CDs; picking one up, looking at the cover, and turning it over. Each CD presented an opportunity for a new musical obsession.
It was the emotional connection I made with these albums that gave me the impetus to form a band and start writing my own music. The album has always been my ultimate creative goal. Within the space of around 50 minutes, I had the opportunity to create an immersive world; one that had the potential to enthral and engage listeners in the same way my favourite albums did for me when I was 17.
However, in recent years, I have noticed that the album has become somewhat devalued. Album sales have steadily declined as music streaming has risen to prominence, with many people choosing to listen to playlists instead. Whilst music streaming offers users cheap and convenient access to millions of songs, I believe that the user experience of Spotify and other leading streaming services directly negates the meaningful discovery and appreciation of albums. With no viable alternative, the decline of the album will continue to have devastating repercussions for the creativity and livelihoods of musicians in the future.
My response was Fidelity, a new music platform where you can borrow a maximum of five albums each month, allowing listeners to build meaningful connections with albums and overcome the frustration that comes with the limitless choice of music on streaming services. If you’re not sure about an album, you can borrow it a maximum of three times before you have to buy it. Once you buy it, proof-of-stake authentication ensures that it is yours and only yours forever.
How has your practice developed while studying the MA in Graphic Design with a global cohort?
This MA has been by far the most rewarding and challenging thing I’ve ever done. There’s no comparison between the designer I was when I started the course and the designer I am now. I am truly grateful to Falmouth, my tutors and my amazing cohort for their incredible support and guidance throughout this process.
Please follow this external platform link, to view the Final MA Project in full and/or portfolio documentation.