Artist Albums: Why Trance Producers Are Really Releasing Them

The argument can be made that before the current world situation caused the world’s governments to place everything on hold, Trance music producers were aiming to do three things: release singles, play gigs, and keep their social media presence current.

And those three things kind of went hand in hand, didn’t they? Without a strong social media presence, there were no recording contracts because most of the labels didn’t want to waste their time “promoting” a song by someone that was a complete unknown. And, without a certain number of likes on your artist page, it was challenging to obtain gigs, especially if you didn’t have much of a discography. It indeed was a vicious cycle.

Trance is a popularity contest, it always has been, and thanks to certain polls by DJ Mag and TrancePodium, the created cliques within the scene can make the casual observer vomit in their Cheerios.

But, is just Trance music cliquey? Hardly. All music is, and when a few artists start to shift the way they present themselves to the public, others inevitably follow.

Take, for instance, the sudden surge in “artist albums.” The only reasons they’re called that is so the tags inside the mp3, and other music files are easily organizable on your media player. Also, an artist album denotes all songs are performed by the artist’s name on the cover art.

There’s no question that some have a bit more time on their hands for various reasons, and the focus has shifted on how they market their brand to the purchasing and streaming public. So, back in April, we started seeing producers who said they’d never release an album because of time constraints or the fact that albums weren’t sustainable in the marketplace, sit down and create just that, an album.

But why? Perhaps since they couldn’t tell their stories behind a set of decks on the weekends, they decided to spend time producing more material to tell that story and kudos to them, it’s a way to showcase your talents in a not-so-new and exciting way.

Look at Nicholson, and his album Reverent. It mysteriously made its way into the overall UK top 40 album chart, the top ten on iTunes dance music chart while becoming the first Trance album ever to debut at number 1 on Beatport.

Could it be that albums generate more revenue for the artist and create a greater opportunity for a listener to enjoy a particular song from a long-play rather than a single? Perhaps.

But, what gets me is the influx of producers that have come out of the woodwork saying “after years in the making” they’re set to release their debut LP or artist album.

Bullshit.

The probable fact is, they’ve been sitting on a collection of songs that haven’t been finished or weren’t good enough to send to a label in the first place. So, what do producers do? Fight tooth and nail to finish those songs, place them in some kind of cohesive order, and find a label to release it before missing out on the current trend. After all, they must stay current, right?

The Trance industry’s herding mentality is insane, and the artist album trend will continue until all “relevant” (popular social media) Trance producers release one, if not two, then go back to releasing singles out of convenience.

Times have changed, there’s no disputing that, and a lot of the music being released is quite good, but releasing an album solely for the reason of bandwagoning leaves a pretty bad taste in my mouth.

Erik Lake

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