The music buying public - and they're still around - are embracing single tracks with a passion. And why wouldn't we? The idea that we no longer have to shell out for complete collections of music regardless of how much we like the padding is one of the sweet joys of the digital era. Even ill-thought-out b-sides can be avoided.
The record labels, of course, don't like it. They've grown rich over the years by dumping a load of snouts-and-trotters into the album mix, bulking up a couple of good tunes into a ten quid album.
Watching them try to find a way to make people buy tracks they neither want nor need is, perhaps, even more heartbreaking than watching the labels attempting to try and rebuild a business distributing circles of plastic in a world without warehouses or shop shelves.
Warner Music Nashville have invented a new format, the SixPak, which they hope will bring back padding, reports Billboard:
In an acknowledgment of growing consumer dissatisfaction with the traditional CD format, for the first time a major label is replacing the typical 10-plus song CD release with two six-song CDs whose release dates are separated by mere months.
A six track album? Isn't that just an EP?
Blake Shelton is the first to have his music released on this brand-new seventy year-old format, and he's excited:
Shelton says industry reaction has been positive and ultimately, its better for his fans. "Fans will get more music than me putting out a new album every two years," he said. "It's a quicker way to get new music to them."
There are two sorts of fans - the very few who would have loved a ten track album anyway, and the other sort, for whom the fact the couple of tracks they want are spread out over two collections, instead of one, will make no difference.
It's not clear why Warners assumes people will buy two records of stuff they don't want instead of simply not buying one.