Ex-Ticketmaster CEO blames vinyl album lengths on TikTok

Originally published at: Ex-Ticketmaster CEO blames vinyl album lengths on TikTok | Boing Boing


I actually kind of dislike how long albums have gotten. I have a lot of vinyl and so many new releases are on 2 LPs, I even have one that is on 4! Sometimes the albums are on multiple LPs and one side of one of them is blank, to properly accommodate the album length. It’s kind of annoying to have to switch records so often to listen to the whole album.


… well, no, it’s not “still” the most popular physical format, but rather it has recently become the most popular physical format again, after being eclipsed by cassettes and then CD’s for several decades

Perhaps Mr. Hubbard perceives 39 minute albums as brief because he grew up during the CD era


With no legitimate basis for his opinions, this greedpig will grasp at any straw he can to seem relevant as anything more than a parasite.

Ex- and current Ticketmaster CEOs in general are particularly nasty pieces of work. They make Tony Ryan seem like a sympathetic figure.


I kinda feel like I have something to say about how recorded music changed from (2x15min) packages, to (40-80min), to (whatever the fuck listening to Spotify gives you) over my lifetime, but I mostly listen to music by keeping iTunes on “random by album” mode so I am probably Out Of Touch with the Youth of Today. So I am making this comment in lieu of spending a half hour waffling around the subject in this same text box, then probably deleting it all.


It still seems insane to me that Ticketmaster has managed to survive, let alone thrive, in the modern digital age. It has always been a predatory rip-off but at least it kind of made sense as a business model back in the days before the internet when it was hard to sell tickets without access to a proprietary digital distribution network. But nowadays anyone can sell anything online with a relatively small amount of effort, so why are artists and venues still letting Ticketmaster get such a huge cut of the proceeds instead of just selling the tickets themselves?


I’ve seen a number of explanations for why this predatory and despised monopoly is able to exist in the Internet age, but none of them were convincing. My conclusion remains that they’ve just borrowed a lot of shady and corrupt music industry mobster practises.


It’s like if Western Union still had a stranglehold on the messaging industry since they owned all the telegram infrastructure. Why do you still exist?


Rock/Pop albums have almost always been 40 minutes as any genX kid who always recorded two albums onto one 90 minute cassette tape will tell you.

The album length crept up in the CD era since CDs held like 75 minutes, and there was a need to justify their high prices, but really I think those albums were mostly too long. I think 40-ish minutes is a great length.

I’d much rather see 40 minute albums every year from a band than an 80 minute album every other year.


Ahh yes, 74 minute CDs, when bands made bold dramatic choices like adding a secret track after 20 minutes of silence.


Idunno, I think “Because late-stage capitalism” is a fairly convincing argument for understanding things, even if I don’t like it.


It’s an odd complaint as pointed out by thomdunn.
The 39-40 minute length is not a hard-and-fast technical barrier though.
My copy of this album - which clocks in at 31 minutes each side - sounds very good. Lots of jazz albums are 45-50 minutes total over both sides.
It all comes down to good mastering.


There’s a 24-hour long version of Atom Heart Mother on YouTube that I’ve been meaning to listen to.


It’s because they’ve managed to tie up the market for mid-to-large venue ticketing… And the regulatory landscape has been crap and getting worse since Reagan… that’s what decades of “the government is the problem” ideology gets us, predatory monopolies over all aspects of our public life, since all aspects of our lives are just realms of consumption…

Doctorow’s Chokepoint Capitalism addresses TM/LN directly, so it’s highly recommended…


They do, they just shifted their model to predatory money-transfer for the impoverished and migrants.


A lot of “microgroove” spoken word LPs have way more than 22 minutes a side, and Miles Davis’ “Get Up With It” LP pushes 30 minutes per side for a couple long tracks he didn’t want edited down. Sometimes labels release a 2LP set as one LP (Stereolab’s “Emperor Tomato Ketchup”) and squeeze 30 minutes a side-- in fact a lot of those K-Tel “Original Hits” comps are 30 minutes a side. It can be done but they sound like crap, with the surface noise always threatening to overpower the music. It helps if the music fits a certain sonic spectrum (quieter stuff with no heavy drums for example), and yes, the mastering/cutting engineer is key here.

That said, this guy is clueless. But hey, it’s the music industry, what did you expect.

“The whole music business in the United States is based on numbers, based on unit sales and not on quality. It’s not based on beauty, it’s based on hype and it’s based on cocaine. It’s based on giving presents of large packages of dollars to play records on the air.” --Frank Zappa



I’m old enough to remember the complaints of musicians and bands about the pressure to produce a 72 min CD at the same clip that vinyl albums were put out. A single CD was the equivalent of a double-vinyl release. The pressure to release to stay relevant is not a new thing, and bands at the time were pressured to fill the medium. Though there was the odd crazy band out there that did double-CD releases… The equivalent of four vinyl albums.

Anyways… I’m old I guess.


Lol… Pearl Jam - Ten has one I think… about 10min of silence and then a door slam or something. I used to fall asleep with the album on in my teens and more than once that woke me up!


IIRC from my Business of Music courses at Berklee way back in ancient times, the reason LPs generally have ten songs is because the standard record contract provides that the label will only pay mechanical royalties for ten songs on a given album. So if you cram more songs on the album, you’re not getting paid for them.


It’s a good question and I do actually have some experience in this for non-music venues, but I feel the concepts hold.

Short answer: selling tickets online is a hassle.

If selling tickets weren’t already prone to scalping, which it is, putting it online now makes it a target for everyone who wants your credit card number and mother’s maiden name. Most venues aren’t tech companies, so if they are selling digitally they have a partner for that to deal with 3:23am database breaches.

There are other ticketing companies out there, but you usually don’t hear about them because TM has locked down so many venues and absorbed so many competitors to get so many venues. Those that do exist have slightly cheaper but comparable rates, because they deal with these hassles.

The place I worked for had 2 different in house solutions. They worked OK because we were small enough. We still had breaches. It was a hassle.