I believe that today's technology age is feeding the development of ADD in society. Digital distribution is one example of this. Now very few people have the patience to listen to an entire album. Most people do not purchase the entire album. Many do not even purchase singles due to the rampant abuse of file sharing (as mentioned in my 9/8/14 post). Music listeners own digital devices with hard drives full of random singles. These devices are either programmed to play playlists (the modern day mix-tape) or set on shuffle mode. The listening experience is a random smattering of artists and styles.
Artists still try to create cohesive albums, but they know that most listeners will not experience the album in its entirety. In order to convince people to purchase the whole album they attempt to make every song a hit single. We now have whole albums full of hook songs. Some people may say this is a good thing because it eliminates filler songs and raises the quality of the album. However, this process of album creation and listening eliminates the journey. It is difficult to create an album full of hit singles that also acts as a cohesive unit. It is even more difficult to listen to such an album as a cohesive unit. Most people will jump around to their favorite songs as if they are determining the results of a popularity contest.
The breakdown of the album in the digital age has also resulted in the breakdown of the message delivered through music. Since the listener has a shorter attention span, the artist has to get his or her message across in one song. The age of spreading a message across an entire album and taking the listener on a journey is over. Plus, your one song message has to be short and sweet. Anything that is too deep will lose the attention of the average listener. Every single is competing for space on the average listener's current playlist. A strong beat, catchy hook and light mood often make it to the top of the list. Listeners don't want to be challenged, they want to have their ears tickled. Call me old fashioned, but I am not into tickling. I enjoy substance and meaning. I'm not saying we should go back to vinyl, but I do miss the days when we use to write and listen to real music.