Part of the answer to the search for an economically viable alternative to the old album format is the Compact Album.
Mountain Records will issue the new project of north African inspired sounds by Dutch guitarist, Jan Wouter, as a compact album.
Asked what this means, the label owner Patrick Lee-Thorp explained as follows. "Consumer trends away from the old 60 plus minute album have devastated most labels. Young fans, in some genre, consume music in track sized bites and they select their favourite album tracks on personal playlists leaving out much of the album content. In addition the price of online sourced music makes a retail album of €17,00 un-competitive. By issuing 6 songs on an album of appox. 30 minutes in length, we reduce the production bill and distill the artistic statement."
"One of the highest costs in album making is the post recording production, this includes multiple mixes and additional overdubs to get the tracks to the point of satisfaction of the artist. So after the initial sessions, a decision is made about which tracks will be taken further. Depending on the pre-production process, this does leave some takes on the cutting room floor, but by a process of natural selection I think the important ones survive. This concentrates the creative energy on fewer tracks."
"Jan Wouter sent us rough mixes and the selection process began. He had some support for his production and spent this wisely in my view by not spreading the recourses too thinly. Like virtually all productions it went over budget but not so that the final product has to be over priced."
"The plan with Jan Wouter's new release is to go to CD first and then follow up as vinyl. There are already over 100 pre-orders, so I think vinyl will happen. The package will be attractively priced, but still with a full booklet in a digipak."
"It sort of happened this way and I feel we are onto something here," said Lee-Thorp.