Why Do Artists Release So Many Singles?

Chris Weinberger, Features Writer

Vivian Phan

Increasingly, the most popular songs are not released in albums, but as singles. This trend has taken root in the United States as well as throughout the world. Some may see it as a lack of dedication from an artist; they couldn’t compose enough, sing well enough, or collaborate in a coherent manner to form an album. However, this method of releasing one song at a time instead of a packaged album may be a strategic move by modern singers.

By releasing a single, artists can focus all the attention they receive on one song, thus improving sales and popularity in charts. “I think it’s a brilliant idea,” noted Tram Nguyen, a junior, “a lot of times when an artist releases an album, the audience tends to overlook the songs that are within.” This is often the case an   artist will have one or two popular hits from an album but the rest of their songs will stagnate. Not only that, but as Tram articulated, “[The artist] only tends to promote a couple songs.” While it may seem beneficial to the artist to promote their most popular songs, it’s likely that it could backfire, leaving their other works from the album in the dust.

Ed Sheeran used this tactic very recently, when he released just two songs, “Shape of You” and “Castle on the Hill.” Within two days of their release, both jumped to the top of the charts, gaining instant popularity. If he had dropped an album with ten songs, however, most of his other songs would have presumably been average in popularity levels. When asked to describe “Shape of You,” many juniors described it as “good,” “catchy,” and “deep.” Every one of them had heard the song before, and didn’t hesitate in responding. In short, the song had rapid popularity, which can undoubtedly be attributed to the fact that it was released with only one other song.

In a nutshell, while it may seem easy to attribute lack of albums to an artist’s laziness or inability, it may actually be because of business smarts and proper promotion. So when an artist drops a single rather than an album, instead of thinking, “What songs am I missing out on?”
think, “There’s more songs to come, and I’ll be sure to hear them when they do.