Can Stop The Music
There's an excellent article in today's USA Today about the continual slow death of the album while interest in singles as downloads rises. They make a number of good points about the freedom to choose the type of music you want versus what's available, and there's some lip service paid to the idea that touring is really the only true way left to reach the fanbase anyway, but I think they gloss over the primary trouble spot, which is:
Not enough good albums are being made that will continue to support the format.
Look, you can't sit there and tell me that the disc Britney Spears released a couple of weeks ago has 60 minutes of interesting and worthwhile pop music on it. There's no fucking way. Anyone who buys that disc is likely getting two or three decent pieces of pop and seven pieces of wretched shit that, if possible, most people would edit off the damn disc.
So why bother? Wouldn't it be a much more brilliant move for someone like Spears to admit that they have no clue how to put together a full length album of quality (and even thematic) music, and instead just put out a new single every couple of months? Maybe every three years or so, put together a compilation disc? It'd be sort of like going from monthly comics to the trade paperback format. And best of all, she'd make money twice, not to mention from the touring. And think of the integrity involved: when was the last time a pop artist decided not to soak their fanbase for dogshit in digital? I'll give you a hint: it wasn't a hip-hop artist.
Leave making albums to those who really know how to make one. Peter Gabriel. U2. Nine Inch Nails. Neil Young. Bruce Springsteen. Quality performing artists. And leave the dogshit out of the other end of the equation. There's nothing wrong with good, solid, quality pop music, just the accompanying dreck that takes up the rest of the tracks.
There are any number of ways to save the struggling business of making music. This would be a great start.