In the 50s and early 60s, nearly all pop music was demand-led cheese, designed solely to make money for sharky moguls and big record companies. After the first true 'bands' like The Beatles, Stones, Kinks etc. happened, Bands began to create albums as free-standing works of art. Obviously there have been, and always will be, bands who were considerably less devoted to the album format and just chucked together a jumble of songs because they HAD to. The music industry at the time was happy to move to an album format because it could charge much more money, but only spend a similar amount on promotion and distribution. Singles got cheaper and cheaper because they were only seen as a device to promote albums.
Today we are going full circle, but the only catch is that singles on download are cheaper than ever, relying on the volume of sales to make anything at all (do singles make any money these days??) and album sales are dwindling.
There are, however, still great bands out there who want to make great albums as free-standing works. How can they be accomodated into this scenario? Only offering the whole album as a single long MP3 file with no breaks, just indexes??
I believe that art cannot ever be led by demand and still call itself art. Artists, equally, can never be shaped by the demand of consumers and still call themselves artists.
Ignoring my probably dodgy back-history, what do people think?