Optimal Number of Tracks in a bundle (call it what you like :) )

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Optimal Number of Tracks in a bundle (call it what you like Smile -- Tracks in an "Album")
-- Well if you are Jethro Tull, it's one! Hahhh...

I looked up the "official" (?) definitions and I agree with, 6 as minimum (though not stated, --stated as 8, Dirol . I think "length" of song may be a factor, imo.

Another "reason" to ask, consider this is, ~~ listening attention span ~~ .

It's my observation in our new 21st Cent. X-Gen culture of 140 characters or less attention span programming, ~~14+ songs may "keep" folks from listening, or knowing "what" to listen to first. (List, or CD, or USB Stick, -- "album")

My "feeling" is that 4 - 6 Tracks of 3 -4 min max may have a better chance of being listened to (2-3 min, really, -- 2 for a Demo, 3 for Mixed-"finished" track).

I remember vinyl "albums" that were only 15 mins (18mins) max and had 6-7 Tracks. So with track separation that made, e.g. 1 < 2 min, at least, and/or a quick seque last/first Note. I guess track separation length is a consideration too... 2-3sec... of course, not for a Page List, Lol of tracks. (For the wise guys out there Smile )
-- And, vinyl had TWO (2) sides ;), so there's your 25 - 30 min "LP" (Ahhh those were the days, --how many side to a CD? Lol )

I know I want someone who's never heard "me" before --to get through 3 songs (6-8 mins). I think in that time, effort, they "get" you, or not. And of course there is the Context of what 3 songs, genre-skew, --rock, acoustic, non-secular, etc.

I thought, all I'll have is 6 max. But as I sit here I'm already at 14. Eh, -- not gonna do that.

-- So, me, I guess I'll parse'em all; then, try to pick "6"

And, you-all? Thoughts? Ever think on that aspect?

It doesn't matter. It just doesn't matter. People don't buy music in the same way they buy a bag of rice, or a box of cornflakes, their primary concern isn't how many tracks, it's how good they are, or whether they will like them. No one, absolutely no one will make a decision on whether to buy your album or not based on how many tracks on it, unless it costs loads of money and has one 3 minute songs, but outside of those extremes, they'll make the decision on whether they think they will like it or not.

However, once they've bought it, you want to keep them interested, so you want to make sure that the songs are good enough and interesting enough that they don't turn it off too soon. But really the only argument for restricting tracks is that the extra ones are of poor quality, because that will put people off. But if all the songs are of good quality then it really doesn't matter. The real issue here is restricting the numbers of tracks for quality control reasons, but not because someone might or might not buy it based on the number of tracks.

Do you remember when the 4 track EP was a thing a few years back? I have noticed in the case of the brand new Royal Blood album (which I have had on repeat) - they have only 10 tracks and removed the traditional 2 second spacing between their songs so they virtually play back-to-back. Talk about keeping the audience listening! It works for me anyhoo, so will prob copy that as a formulae - until the next trend...!

Interesting topic. Regarding vinyl - I seem to recall that there was a limit to how much music could be put onto a side of a record before the sound quality deteriorated.
I think my parents still have my vinyl collection - I seem to recall that 5 songs to a side was the pop norm, but certainly a rule that was broken quite often. And regarding length of an entire album, one of my favorites is Damn the Torpedoes by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, clocking in at 29 minutes. Left me wanting more - and then I just downloaded an updated version, and it has live tracks, unreleased songs, alternate takes ... and eventually I'll get around to all of it. Not often do I have the luxury anymore of sitting and enjoying an album beginning to end.
My own album creations - admittedly mainly for me and family and a few close friends - are usually 12 songs, maybe 40-45 minutes. To me it's a fun exercise to tell a story in that many songs.
My yoga instrumentals go into 55 minute playlists - because they are the soundtrack to classes I teach.
When I'm driving, I have some road trip playlists that vary depending on how long the drive is. Most of my destinations take 15-30 minutes to get to. I have a good 8-song Van Morrison playlist I've been digging lately - songs from various albums across his career.

Wow, yes, all, great thoughts... very helpful!

The first pro recordings I did were going on vinyl (CDs were out, but vinyl was still in play). I remember hearing that the more material you put on a record, the narrower the grooves, and so less detail and less bass response. Dance records went on 12" singles to help with this. Mastering was not optional back then, making the master for pressing records was a black art and required specialized knowledge and tools even more so back in the day (90's).

I think 20 minutes a side for vinyl was considered standard, so 10-12 songs on an album was pretty normal. Unless you had the 12-minute opus taking up half of one side of the disk.

Also, I don't think there's any optimal number. For the album production thing I'm doing a 6-song EP. I own double CDs and triple albums, it all seems valid to me.

Today it is a singles market, as it was in the fifties. But I am sentimental about the album concept, when all the tracks had to be good, It wasnt just two singles, two b sides, and 6 fillers,,clocking in at 20 minutes. Ill always feel the ideal album is between 40 to 50 minutes with 10 to 12 tracks, Im in the process of remastering all my tapes, and re recording the songs that arent decently represented and posting approximately 50 albums on bandcamp..each album having a concept and quantity varying from 10 to 14 tracks. about 15 yers ago i was talking to lou reed about the impossibility of the concept album in the then current market. with CD capability around 70 minutes, potentially listeners asked themselves the question, should i listen to the new lou reed album again or put on a movie instead? the thing that really pissed lou off was the capability of dumb teenagers to resequence the tracks on his albums, as he spent a long time sequencing them. once the listener was freed of listening to the album the way it was intended to be heard, the whole concept of the a;bum as art was lost, and led us now back intot he dark ages of singles. i have five albums up so far, and nutation is right when he says than few people will listen to more than three tracks. it is probably smart with bandcamp to post songs individually, but many of us are imprinted with the album template and will continue to produce 12 song albums running 45 minutes in spite of nobody listening to more than three tracks, and probably skipping through those three songs before they come to their meticulously crafted endings.

Hey @billwhite51 -- yes, I am glad you "got" that... and not surprised.

It's not a preferance, indeed Lol ... but, yes, rather than one page with 12 tracks, 4 pages with 3 tracks...
-- Also, since most "bundles" (albums?) are all single tracked for DL, streaming at $.99cents... what's the difference.

I often wondered in prior days why some albums seemed broken up... $ales Smile ... if I can get $15 an "album" x 2..., well, why not. Look at the many "AC/DC" albums... and other band "albums" with other tracks "revised", or the "live version" Smile or, "take #9" hahhh... lovely!

It's an interesting "paradigm"... and is a culture shift. When I use to put together online classes or advise how to do so, I always advised to limite, e.g. (again) a 12 min video to 3 min "Chunks" of information. All 4 videos will get watched (trackable) while the 12 min almost always will not, -- folks presume they know the ending. That is ironic especially in an "academic" realm of supposedly "new" information Wink

-- Yes, I have been happily surprised to listen past the 30sec mark on a 3 min track and said to myself, "well, look at that!" ... "what they did there".

Yesterday evening I was reviewing "major" album (vinyl) tracks for length. I never notice how short, e.g. Sgt Pprs many tracks were... OMG! <2min, many. Then I remembered, yeah, Radio time... used to be a saleable commodity Smile Hahhh... 4min songs had a hard time. And the "bathroom" songs had to be major loved "hits".

It is all very interesting. I don't know why... so many years... yet, still, all very interesting Smile

-- I catch myself, while driving, clicking to the next track! What's the hurry? Smile ... but, derUgo! And radio... I don't even know if my radio works in my vehicle! Hahhh...

Tracks in a bundle. I laughed out loud at that. Because calling it "what you will" is important. You then clarified an "album." So I'm assuming you are talking specifically about how many tracks on an album. But you didn't say that initially, so are you asking for the number of tracks on an EP as well? They say words have meanings. But they can definitely mean different things at different times. Do you remember when a single was two songs? That's no longer true in the digital realm.

one reason i hesitated about including lyrics on the 50 90 songs was because i believed nobody would listen to the second half of the song once they scanned the lyrics as a whole. in the days when there was a music industry, you had about fifteen seconds to get your song across, and nobody would dare put more than three songs on a demo. ii still believe, though, that if you are making an album for a major label that is sure to get promotion and distribution, the length of the album or of any individual song, is not going to endanger sales.

in the 90s, englih bands would release several editions of a single, each with different b sides, usually three or more per disc. the purpose of this was to induce fans to buy several versions of the same single, thus ensuring a higher chart position than if only one edition were released. chart position was and possibly still is a motivating factor in british popular music. it doesnt mean anything in the US anyore, as a single may debut at number one before a single piece of product is purchased.

Hey @billwhite51 -- that's very interesting. I never knew that. It makes sense, good business. Now today, we have version #9, acoustic version, live version...

-- Glad you include the lyrics... ! ... I find it interesting how they get put to the melody after the spoken word rhythm in "my head" Smile I learn from everyone.

@standup I agree - and I have more than one triple CD. Zappa's "Shut Up and Play Your Guitar", Waits's "Orphans, Brawlers and Bastards", Vangelis's 25th anniversary release of the "Blade Runner" OST - if the quality is there, there's nothing wrong with releasing content in big chunks.

@billwhite51 It happened in the 70s and 80s, too. The cheaper approach was to release singles and albums with multiple versions of the sleeve (for example Led Zeppelin's "In Through The Out Door" had six different variants, and shipped in a brown paper bag so you couldn't see which version you were getting). But for me, any interest in the UK charts died when "Top Of The Pops" went off the air. Appearing on the show was a rite of passage for bands - when the opportunity was taken away, the UK music industry lost something vital, IMO. And these days, shows like "The X Factor" and "The Voice" have skewed the charts so much that they've become meaningless. I stopped paying attention to what's in the charts years ago.

Short answer: if a track feels like it's "filler" then don't include it. Leave it off, or write something better.

I went through my lyrics, and they felt like filler. I revised them, polished them, rewrote them. It still feels like filler.

I've struggled with getting to the Tracks I want to consolidate to a "bundle" of songs from this 5090 effort, and other.

I read through all the, "I do it this way", and so on. None of that worked for me.

What I recently did was, over the course of a few days, --go through a "pile" of stuff I'd play anytime, generally speaking.

I arrived at 36 - 38 or so from that.

I was surprised, very surprised.

I set aside those songs, --all played during a "fresh" moment in the/that day, -- not tire, hungry, pissed off :), and etc., feeling good and simply sat down to play a "few".

From those, I started the process over again. However, this time I "rated" them. If I felt "bad" so to speak about it, (remember, picked from a, -- would play anytime pile)... anyway, in that context, it got removed, or it got a little pencil number of at least a "5".

I had a bunch of 5's. Then, I started to "get" 6's +. I even got one "9". I committed to not really "think" to much about it. And then, I got more 8.5's than I ever figured on.
-- I got it down to, as of today, to "10" songs. (shocked, just shocked I'd have that many after all of that effort)

However, too, I had it nailed in my head I'd only consider 4- 6 total songs as a total number.
-- So, I think I will I'll continue that way, as commented above, and let it marinate a bit more, --maybe I'll even let days go by without looking at them and really be "fresh" on the next look.

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What's going through my head as I do it, is,
--how do I "feel" about the song, how it makes me "feel" when I play it
--how it may make someone else "feel" and * if that matters. If "negative", it gets set aside.
--in light of the above step, I was trying hard to keep the lyrics 100% secular. However, I am finding that impossible especially since "r&b", "blues-y", "spiritual" based as I see them. So, at this level of "pick", tossed the secular criteria. I "feel", as has happened many times in "rock" history, --it just won't matter (so to speak).
--and..., I try to keep in mind the feedback of various songs over the past, I think it's 2 years now, fawm/5090, and other.
--I may map what I pick back to [Feeback Comment] from the archived work product. My hope is, --is that it does collate to my "motown-method" Smile of what "they" like! (That's a bit ambiguous since the Cohorts at any one time are fully, globally random, not a "focus" group of a specific niche. However, "that" is a special criteria as well if even anecdotal, --qualitative data method.)
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-- At this point, getting to as few as possible will help in the then, re-recording aspect. I still intend as "Chip" brought up, to do more of a "Performance" recording, a one and done type recording. I'm not seeking to make a "record" "record".

In that light, of how to record, --last night I was watching an old Toni Iommi interview where he qualified the "type" of musician he was. He said "in studio" for the "solo" part, that he'd do maybe half a dozen takes and pick the one he liked best, (never a Note for Note practiced soloist, --improv only in a general framework). I've heard that from "Jon Lord" too, (keyboard of deep purple b4 2002), --who said that he'd do maybe 3 takes at the * most (stay "fresh", not tired...), and picked the best, "mistakes" and all, since would not risk loosing the "feel" over note-smithing a Note that no one but he, himself may ever "hear".

Actually, following that thinking "Jon Lords"..., I am always surprised that once I listen to the "Recording", (of me in this process), that I don't "hear" what I heard when playing it. Moreover, many sound, simply, alike (my multiple takes, through end to end of a song, one-take). (Actually that's what eased me into live playing... 99.99% it sounded as it should, large mistakes or not. And, as I saw in other performers... (Adele?), just start over * even, (definitely just proceed, relaxed), --no one really cares! Lovely!)

Well, at least I feel I have more of a method for this..., not seeking the best, or what "I" like, or what one other person liked... seeking a median in sound, if possible.

My goal is still to do that performance-like recording. I'll need to pay more attention to some things I don't normally care about, like: what part of the house I'm recording in, how far the mic is from both guitar and face, whether the chair I'm sitting in squeaks, etc.
And I'll play each song until I get a single take I like, which hopefully is no more than 3-4 takes.
I think I narrowed down my "bundle" to 12 songs, maybe 13. And I feel like together they tell an autobiography of my 2017.
I got to that 12-13 songs from a total of maybe 30, my main criterion being: could I perform the song well with just guitar and vocal?

Ah, see @Chip Withrow -- "could I perform the song well with just guitar and vocal?"... ah, yes... I was wrestling with that. Commenting it provides clarity since coming from another human being from across the country.

-- I was already thinking, OMG, now I gotta hook up my PC to my mixing board on my drum kit and etc. Now, I won't have to Smile ! Just me and the gat... closer every day Lol

Why not just do all ten if you feel they are good songs? It gives you more options, once they are recorded, whereas if you only do a smaller number you have less room to change your mind.

Hey @Frances Smith, -- great question.

(If asking me?...)

A couple of hold outs here had been tossing that around.

One or two think that in terms of having folks listen to all of them, and most of the track too, --less is more.

So, for me, as always, I had allot to say, share, comment, consider outloud... :)... and collated it to a limited open mic hypothetical, -- if lucky you get 3 songs, and ***which for these folks who have never ***heard you, ever.

I have two or three if after you've heard them, and you don't "like" my stuff, I'm fine with it, --it's not me, it's "genre". I've never had anyone run screaming from the venue either Smile But, hey, --there lots of great opera, and rockabilly and certain other I can score high, as a critic, but will ***never like, personally, buy or listen to.

Many don't separate, "like" from "good", at a minimum. You have to provide your own way out of that box. This is mine to a limited degree, as I'll discuss here. (Avoiding a rabbit trail here Smile ) For e.g., if ever took an on-line class at the early Berkley classes... a big element for "grades" (so to speak Lol ) was peer review which never enforced "like vs elements of the rubric". You had "literal" folks grading "abstract folks and as well you had "Trolls" who krapped on all... (that got somewhat resolved via pro-action if one contacted the "TA").

So, I think many here "Qualify" their reasons for "here" and etc. However, I've never observed anyone who didn't look for "validation", of some kind. Moreover, there are many biographical documentaries that comment, even the most famous being, -- human. "OK, so now do I suck?", so to speak,... a rabbit trail I won't subject you too.

So for "this" for me:
Moms favorite, wife, husband etc., may not even be a consideration. My wife's favorite for e.g,, is "good" but very "specific". Fortunately she has another favorite, based upon a dozen folks approaching the stage, me, -- asking, "who's stuff that was, and where they could get a copy". (True story... when I convince them it was me, they were no longer interested! Hahhh. Lol They thought I was a cover artist (?) ... what about the other two? --no clues for them there Lol I found out many things that way, by really paying attention. Many times, early on, the "non-reaction" had nothing to do with me. In fact, as I found out, "i" was the best part of their night; and, as told, "we figured "you *knew your stuff was 'good', 'liked'". ) I found that music and performing is a very relational, relationship, --thing. (Another rabbit trail I won't venture down.)

I find that I myself (seeing 4-6 tracks), I will click all 4-6 and listen 60 secs, if not all of the track.
-- However, if I see 14 tracks, I may only click the feature track and listen 30-45 secs; sometimes, only 15 secs.

Moreover, it is true, said by others here, -- I've sat at meetings where only, maybe 30 secs was the time you had to catch someone's ear. It's a reason, e.g., "Niles Rogers" would start with the hook, repeated (heavy beat hook too), if not entire chorus first as "intro"...; as he said, "youve got 15 secs, and that's it". (Prolific song writer, and great autobiography to read, FYI... he's the, I joke with friends, he's the black version of me... sans the money and fame Wink ... and "luck"!! OMG... if one can call him "lucky"... that's debatable regardless of the "fame/money" outcome. )

Anyway... there is no correct, right answer, only the best for you!
-- I think if a following occurs, they'll ask for more.

It's not about money or sales... as with many of my almost famous friends (NJ, USA is littered with them Smile ) , it's about validation. Some of them, know well how this all works, don't even CR (Copyright Register) their work :), saying... many reasons, --which is another rabbit trail I'll save you from.

--auto correct on my iPad is killing me today... I gotta switch to PC... ne-way Smile ask away... this forum is for level 101 folks like me, not the experts of sage experience Smile ! I find level 101 folks tend to be more helpful if even in a sideways manner. I've been sideways lifelong, hahhh Dirol

(I found a PC and tried to correct the worst typos, SoDerUgo! Lol )