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2012: The Album went back to its roots

Posted by David Marsden on 4th January 2013

photo albums‘Album’, from the Latin albus, ‘a blank tablet’

What I have traditionally grown up calling albums (physical collections of music or photos) have been a thing of the past for some time. And that’s been thanks to MP3 players, and increasingly smartphones and tablets. This week, we saw news that digital media sales in the UK broke the £1Bn mark in 2012. At the same time, CD album sales dropped by 20%. Music single sales, which have increased year on year for the 5th time, are now virtually 100% online.

It’s not just music. The importance of photo sharing and cloud image storage was also highlighted when Instagram updated its terms and conditions, scaring some into finding other repositories for their ‘private’ and sacred photo albums. The (arguably, over-) reaction did at least show that paying for cloud services such as Flickr may now be getting more palatable.

From what I’ve experienced on iOS, in addition to providing its API to support third party apps, Flickr seems to do a fairly good job of updating its own app to deliver a solid mobile experience — in spite of me uploading increasingly large multi-GB multi-media albums.

It is still more often than not the photo, video and music libraries (and games) that leave a mobile device struggling to cope. So, even with the growth in online albums, in answer to the question raised by the launch of Ubuntu for Android phones yesterday, yes, I think mobile users increasingly do need a higher level performance from their devices.

So, the album may be dead, but long live the album…or the tablet as it’s once again known.

photo credit: awshots

David Marsden

David is an Wildfire Board Director with the unusual position of being experienced in running PR campaigns in Asia having studied, lived and worked in the region. Having helped build Wildfire’s international network over the last 15 years, he now oversees and brings strategic insight to some of the agency’s most successful and longest-running multinational campaigns.