This morning (November 20) music fans hoping to stream Adele‘s new album, 25, will be disappointed. Her record label has made it clear that, at least for the time being, the album will not be available for streaming on Spotify, Pandora or any of the other similar services.
It is available digitally; you can purchase downloads of the individual songs or the entire album on sites like iTunes.
But why avoid the streaming services? It’s almost expected, at this point, that nearly anything you’d want to listen to is available for streaming, without the financial commitment that used to be necessary to hear music on demand. You know, back when you used to have to pay for an LP, cassette, CD or even a mp3 file. Billboard is reporting that the album will ship 3.6 million physical copies in the United States, and that it could sell 2.5 million units in the United States in its first week.
Adele’s representatives haven’t commented on this, but the answer probably lies in the unique position that the British singer finds herself in right now. Coming off of the 11 million selling 21, the response to 25‘s first single “Hello” was overwhelmingly positive. It created a pop culture moment that we don’t experience very much anymore: everyone seemed interested in the song, from the youngest music fans to the oldest across many demographics. In the three weeks since the video has been posted, it has been viewed over 419,000,000 times on YouTube. That’s four hundred nineteen million times.
Despite the fact that Adele is young—she’s 27, and part of the generation who has always expected to get music for free, whether via illegal downloads or streaming—her audience seemingly covers all ages. And while older generations tend to consume new music less actively than younger people, they remember “event” records, albums whose release seemed to be a bona fide occasion, whether it was from Michael Jackson or Bruce Springsteen, Madonna or NSYNC, Guns N Roses or Pearl Jam. And they are likely excited about the rare occurrence of an album release that equates to one of those sorts of “events.” Perhaps even enough that they will go out to whatever retail outlet still stocks CDs, and pick it up. Or pre-order it, or even download it on iTunes.
There haven’t been many albums as hotly anticipated as this one in recent years, and team Adele is clearly hoping that that anticipation will lead to the public reverting to a behavior that’s seen as nearly quaint in 2015: actually paying for music.
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