Do Traditional Album Cycles Help or Hinder Artists?

From 1968 to 1977 Fleetwood Mac released 11 studio albums (and the collaborative album Fleetwood Mac in Chicago, and six compilation albums). Sometimes that was two albums a year. Prince’s output throughout his career followed a similar pattern, which felt like the norm in ‘80s and ‘90s, but when he dropped triple album Lotusflow3r in 2009, or when he released Art Official Age and Plectrumelectrum on the same day in 2014, this felt more unusual and groundbreaking.

And that’s because somewhere along the way in the 1990s and 2000s, musicians fell victim to the dreaded “album cycle.” Instead of just releasing music when it was ready, there was a need to release an album every couple of years leaving time for months of touring. But over the past few years artists have started to eschew these traditional album release schedules again.

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