British music industry announce National Album Day to celebrate all aspects of the long player
The album format celebrates its 70th anniversary this year – and to mark the occasion, all aspects of the British music industry have come together to declare Saturday October 13 as an annual celebration called National Album Day.
It will celebrate all aspects of the album –artists, songwriters, producers, cover art, sleeve notes – of new releases and classic issues in all genres.
The first recognised album in the UK, The Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor on the Columbia Masterworks label, was released in June 1948.
The BPI (British Phonographic Industry) estimates that five billion albums have been sold since 1948.
Demand for albums remains high in Britain. Last year 135 million units were bought, downloaded, or streamed – a 9.5% rise over the previous year.
4.1 million on vinyl formats were snapped up in 2017 – the highest level since the start of the 1990s.
National Album Day is being organised jointly by ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association), representing music retailers and digital/streaming platforms, in partnership with the BPI.
It also has the backing and input of the wider music community, including AIM, (Association of Independent Music) Classic Album Sundays, FAC (Featured Artist Coalition), MMF (Music Managers Forum), MPG (Music Producers Guild), Official Charts Company, PPL, United Talent Agency, and UK Music.
In the week-long run-up to October 13, there will be celebrations with programming support from the BBC, retail events, artist appearances, classic LP playbacks and online listening parties and tie-ins.
A social media campaign will invite people to nominate and share the album that has most inspired them.
At 3.33 pm on October 13, fans, stores, radio stations and public spaces will be invited to play their favourite album in full.
“Streaming may be broadening our ability to access and discover music,” says BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor.
“But the concept of the album as a body of work that expresses a narrative or an artist’s creative vision at a given moment remains as relevant and inspiring as ever.”
Paloma Faith, one of the first ambassadors for the event, recalls, “I vividly remember being excited by so many classic albums as I was growing up, like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Dylan’s Freewheelin’ and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun.
“Although, if I had to pick one, the album that most inspired me was Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut.
“It featured the incredibly powerful Why?, a song that has become a real anthem for me not least as it was the first to bring home the emotional power of lyrics.
“The way we engage with music may be changing, but for me the album remains the ultimate expression of the songwriter’s craft.”
Iain McNay, chairman of Cherry Red Records and one of the instigators of National Album Day, emphasises: “The format of the album is so important.
“Even in this era of the growing popularity of streaming, the majority of artists still think in terms of writing and recording albums rather than just tracks.
“National Album Day is a great reminder of the creative thought and brilliance that goes into the making of an album, and it is a way that we can all participate by listening to and remembering our favourite albums.
“The album is the King of music formats; long live the King!”