The Billboard magazine edition featuring Coldplay (20th August 2011) is emerging online and with it, a small unseen article on the thoughts behind the choice of the next Coldplay single, and how it figures in the grand scheme of 'Mylo Xyloto' [pictured]. Below is the article, entitled "Singles vs. Sequencing - an album act in an a la carte business" which delves into the decision making of 'Paradise' over 'Charlie Brown' as the next Coldplay track to be released. After the jump are also some of the pages featuring images and visuals - the rest of the article is the same as was posted yesterday. [thanks svenky]
"We just can't compete in a single world," Chris Martin says. "We're not good enough at singles to do that. So we play to our strength. We have some good singles, sure, but we can't compete with [Lady] Gaga or Beyonce or Justin [Timberlake] if he would only fucking make a record. It's good news for all of us that he isn't, because it gives everyone else a chance, but it's a great loss to music that he doesn't do it."
Coldplay views itself as an "album act," and considers that a badge of honour. "I always say to them, 'You're blessed that you're on that very short list of artists that are measured by their albums, not by singles,"' manager Dave Holmes says. "If you look at Coldplay's history, at our album and ticket sales and then our radio performance, it just doesn't make sense. They're in this unique lane, where we've never had a massive success at radio - I would say moderate success at radio - but then they've had these massive album sales and ticket sales. I'd take that any day of the week. I don't want to be like half the bands on the modern rock charts that, if they're not having hits, they're not selling albums. Coldplay fans, for the most part, want to hear the whole album."
"Consumers have gone to a very a la carte world," EMI executive VP of marketing and promotion Greg Thompson says. "And Coldplay is an album band that makes great bodies of work. The consumption pattern has shifted. You have to go out there and really work it so people understand not to cherry-pick a couple of songs but buy the whole tree."
Holmes says it's simply a matter of dealing with reality. "Any kid growing up today, their experience is an on-demand experience," he says. "It's not like us, where if we wanted to watch 'Happy Days we had to tune in Thursday night at 8 o'clock. Kids today can't even get their heads around that concept. They get their media when they want it, where they want it and how they want it."
The onus is on the artist, Holmes says. "It's up to them to make better art," he says. "If you want people to buy your albums, make better albums. We all know what it was like in the 90s, when their manager at the label was, 'As long as we have one single, we are fine," and bench just ship the fucking thing out. You can't do that any more."
Even so, Coldplay puts a lot of thought into which songs should be singles; most recently the debate was whether to follow up summer track "Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall" with the catchy "Charlie Brown", heard all over the world this summer at festivals, or the big, bold narrative that's "Paradise", a key plot advancer in the entire concept of Mylo Xyloto. "There was a debate between Charlie Brown and Paradise as to which to go with next and for the longest time we were thinking Charlie Brown," Holmes says. "But then just recently we thought, 'You know what? That's probably exactly what people expect to hear as the next Coldplay song. Lets go with Paradise.'"
An obsession of the LP generation, sequencing, for the iPod generation, is a dying art form. Not for Coldplay. "We're going to spend the next four weeks arguing about it. You can ruin a song by putting it in the wrong place," Jonny Buckland says. "But if people want to listen to our songs in whatever order they want, we're just grateful that they are listening."
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