What is the Ideal Album Length ?
What is the ideal length of an album ? Is 50 minutes too short ? Having done some research on various music based forums, the answer by many seems to be 45 minutes for pop and rock albums. Michael Jackson's Thriller was 42 minutes long and many albums still considered the best today originally needed to fit on a LP which only holds 45 minutes of audio.
When CD came on the market and with it being initially much more expensive than Vinyl many artists were forced to use more of the space to justify the high cost and the filler tracks appeared. With digital downloads and streaming the trend now is more inclined towards hit singles and play-lists for most mainstream music. However many albums are meant to be a journey which the artist intended to be played in order so about 45 minutes still seems ok and with Vinyl being ever more trendy at the time of writing then artists are once again constrained by this medium which is no great loss.
My personal view is between 45-60 minutes for a regular pop or rock album. However electronica is rather different depending on the style where ambient based or cinematic tracks are typically much longer so a 60+ minute album is not that rare in electronica. Even so, some of the best electronica in the Berlin School style of the past such as from Tangerine Dream and Edgar Froese just to name the most obvious was released on LP, so again constrained to 45 minutes. I think consumers just expect more these days from all forms of media and I regularly see albums of all genres pushing the 60 to 70 minute mark.
After the release of Electron Utopia at Syngate Records I was working on experimental tracks that did not fit into the theme of that album. Most of the tracks started life as progressive ambient with one darker drone based structure which again was an experiment using old recordings slowed down. Later two longer Berlin School inspired tracks took form which are very different from the traditional long drawn out typical 'space music' style of Berlin School. They sit in the theme of the album title 'Inseca' in terms of feel, structure and pace with hits and transitions used on the Berlin School tracks hence trying to take a different approach. This became a whole to create an album/EP at 50 minutes long which I did a pre-release. Later in the year I decided to add new tracks and polish the existing ones to extend it to the 70 minute mark to make a complete longer album for future release on Syngate Records.