Who doesn’t love the album? National Album Day – the news of which Music Week broke last weekend – has united the music industry around a popular campaign to celebrate all aspects of the 70-year-old format.
BBC Music is involved as broadcast partner with coverage in the run-up to October 13, while the indie sector is gearing up to get involved. Here, Megan Page, ERA’s National Album Day coordinator, reveals what’s in store for the inaugural edition…
What have you learnt from running Record Store Day that can help this new initiative?
Record Store Day is not a centralised top-down event. It’s about independent shops banding together around a common cause in mutual self-interest and interpreting it in a way which best works for them. National Album Day is similar. Whilst we have some great tent-pole activity planned to raise awareness, it is the activities by individual labels, digital services and retailers which will really make it work.
What we also know from RSD is that there continues to be a real thirst from fans to outwardly show their support for their favourite music and artists. Everyone has a story, a poignant or special emotion attached to their favourite record shop, artist or indeed album that they want to share.
What are the ambitions for National Album Day?
The biggest test is if our impressive line-up of supporters – everyone from the BBC to our artist ambassadors – decide they want to do it again. What will decide that is whether our hunch – that music fans remain as interested as ever in the album as an art form – turns out to be true. We are confident it is. So yes, why not have a National Album Day every year?
We’re tapping into a real demand to highlight the album in an age of very formatted pop
How has the music industry shown its support for the plan?
It’s year one, so we’re being careful not overstretch ourselves, but so far we have had a great response from artists, label and retail partners. We seem to be tapping into a real demand to highlight the album in an age of very formatted pop. That seems to be a feeling which cuts across a wide cross-section of the industry and media
How would you like National Album Day to balance 'classic' albums with more recent releases?
Our view is that the album is very much alive and kicking so this is going to be a lot more than a nostalgia-fest. At the same time we won’t shy away from the classics. The Mercury Prize has a total focus on the contemporary so NAD is not a competitor, but something which is very complementary
Record Store Day is obviously a physical-focused campaign. Do you see National Album Day as a multi-format celebration of the album - and is that important in the streaming era?
The beauty of NAD is it’s about music, not formats. Everyone can participate – from the biggest streaming service to the smallest indie. What we know about committed music fans is that they’re the biggest consumers of every format, so this is not physical versus digital. It is physical and digital.