How long is a full length album?

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jrdamien
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How long is a full length album?

Post by jrdamien » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:43 am

Title says it all. Recording this weekend and we have more songs than we can use. What's a good length "these days" for an LP? 40 mins? 45? How many songs?

OBVIOUSLY there is no "right" answer. Just looking for opinions.

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Post by Mark » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:43 am

30 to 40 minutes if it's not a double LP or a triple album boxset :D

If it's either of the latter just multiply by 2 or 3. :lol:

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Post by palinilap » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:55 am

I've seen LP's as short as 30-ish minutes, and as long as 80 min, which is the length a CD accommodates. Sometimes it's more about number of tracks and variety. 10-12 tracks seems like the current pop standard, but if you tend to write longer, epic songs, fewer track are appropriate.

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Post by Brett Siler » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:18 am

30 minutes or longer

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Post by vvv » Thu Apr 14, 2011 4:29 am

I seem to recall that, in ye olden days of vinyl, generally, under 30 was a E.P., and over 50 was a double album, or a album with a bonus E.P.
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Post by chris harris » Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:52 am

Unless you're already famous, NOBODY wants to hear 80 minutes of your music on one album. Not even your mom. And, probably not even if you are already famous.

I think that 30 to 40 minutes is a perfect length for a full-length album.

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Post by JGriffin » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:23 am

Long enough to reach the ground.
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Post by CraigS63 » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:30 am

It should fit on one side of a C90 cassette, so, 45 minutes.

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Post by kslight » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:36 am

I think about 37-43 mins is perfect. However if you have more songs then record them all and pick and choose the strongest to be your album. The songs that didn't make the cut you use for B-sides or promotional incentives, or you keep in the vault for the next album. If you go in there with only the album's length of material chances are that you'll need to go back and do some more, or rework what you did. If you are label represented then they often want B-sides just for the sake of having them, to potentially be released with singles or international releases of albums (particularly Japanese versions).

For example my bands album is just over 40 mins with 9 songs, and has 3 remixes as "bonus" tracks. The Japanese version has one more song which we had cut off domestic release because we felt it was not consistent with the themes of the rest of the album, but this song was popular with the Japanese so we gave it to them. A remix of the song shows up on both releases, but the Japanese also get the original mix after the 9 main tracks so as not to screw up the sequencing.

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BrontoSoreAss
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Post by BrontoSoreAss » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:44 am

If you have a large body of songs I'm sure there are ones that you feel more strongly about than others - pick out the group of songs that your most excited about and will work to create the most artistically fulfilling release for you. Unless you are limited by a physical medium (such as vinyl) I don't really see why the length of the release should be much of a factor in your decision making process (unless it is a specific component of your artistic vision). It is true, most people probably will not have the patience for an 80 min release - but who the fuck cares - if you believe that those 25 songs should be put out together than do it. If your only really behind 6 songs than just put them out. Or break the songs up into two releases if they fit together better that way. Follow your artistic vision and assemble your release based on that - all other factors should be secondary IMO.

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Post by eeldip » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:46 am

i have a hunch that one would do better releasing a series of 15-20 minute EPs over the course of a year.

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Post by BrontoSoreAss » Thu Apr 14, 2011 8:52 am

i have a hunch that one would do better releasing a series of 15-20 minute EPs over the course of a year.
From a marketing perspective I suspect this is true as well - a lot of local bands in my area that are getting attention have had a fair number of small releases (such as a few 7" singles) rather than one large one.

That being said I have a friend who put out a very long release and blew the fuck up - pitchfork loves him.

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Post by dfuruta » Thu Apr 14, 2011 10:01 am

I think this depends on the musical content. There are plenty of great, groundbreaking albums under half an hour that certainly seem like full lengths. Just to name two,
Albert Ayler - Spiritual Unity is 29 minutes
Discordance Axis - The Inalienable Dreamless is 23 minutes.

Both of those are so dense and complex that any more would be too much.

In my opinion, the difference between an EP and a full-length is less a matter of playing time and more a matter of conception: a full-length is a cohesive, complete aesthetic unit, while an EP is more like a collection of singles.

So, I think a full-length is however long it needs to be, whether that's 20 minutes or 60. Personally, I'd rather listen to an album that's 25 minutes with no filler than one that was made a bloated 40 minutes to be long enough for someone's conception of "full-length".

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Post by vvv » Thu Apr 14, 2011 11:30 am

dwlb wrote:Long enough to reach the ground.
Cold, too.

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Post by Gregg Juke » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:35 pm

>>>>Unless you're already famous, NOBODY wants to hear 80 minutes of your music on one album.<<<<

Not universally true. LOTS of people worldwide dug our band's first disc, and I put it out with 74 minutes of music.

It depends on your songs, it depends on your genre, it depends on your market; it depends, it depends, it depends...

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