Albums or singles? Insiders debate what dancehall artistes should focus on

November 30, 2018

A repost by dancehall artiste Popcaan has ignited a debate around the issue of singles versus albums.

The post, which was originally made by an apparent Unruly fan page, encouraged artistes to be less concerned about being featured on a 'hot riddim' and more focused on putting together a body of work, pointing out that the latter is what wins Grammys.

Music industry insider Donovan Watkis explained that while artistes should be encouraged to put out complete bodies of work, many dancehall artistes do not see the need.

He explained that with dancehall still considered a niche market, albums usually go unrecognised.

He said the latter causes many artistes to be more focused on releasing singles, as those usually do better than an album.

"The music business started as a singles business and graduated to an album business. Albums and bodies of work are important but only for the musical purists, not for entertainment sake," he said.

He said that entertainment is about both putting out stuff that people like, and getting attention.

"If you're able to put together an album and get people's attention then so be it but a lot of artistes are not studio artistes, many artistes are just performance artistes. Many may be good at doing a single and performing on a stage but they cannot put together an album," he said.

He added that although most local artistes would love to win a Grammy, they are not particularly concerned about it.

He explained that the majority of local acts are focused on making money and the latter usually comes from releasing as many singles as they can.

"The album is as important as the fans demand because it's a supply and demand business. If fans aren't demanding an album from the artiste, then the artiste would be wasting his/her time putting out one," he said.

Recording artiste Wayne Marshall also believes that the fans do not want to hear an album from every artiste and that some artistes will see more success releasing singles.

"The good thing about this industry is that there is a place for singles and a place for albums. An artiste that is aspiring to get a Grammy award knows he has to do an album," he said.

He also indicated that he believes there are many artistes out there who would love to release albums but simply don't have the resources.

He explained that when an artiste weighs how much it will cost to release a single as opposed to an album, they usually opt to do whatever will cost them the least and perhaps guarantee the most monetary benefits.

Marshall, who is planning on releasing an album next year, said that while there is a place in the industry for both types of artistes, as a creative person, every entertainer should aspire to get to the level where they can release an album if they so please.

"When you start taking the music serious, you will find yourself wanting to do an album and you will do it," he said.

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