Record producer Riley Grandell is proving to the music industry that there’s a flip side to costly albums that hiss or grind out barely recognizable lyrics.
His new vinyl record features only four songs, but what consumers lose in quantity they gain in better quality, a reduced cost and catchier songs.
The idea for a four-song album came in response to consumer apathy, Grandell says. Record sales were going down, and the recording industry was blaming it on the recession, he says, even though statistics show that during the worst of economic times, people spend money on entertainment.
A survey conducted by Grandell proved what he had suspected. “People weren’t buying records because the quality of the disc was going downhill,” he says. “But the price was going up for an eight-to 10-song album that featured only one to three top songs. Ninety-six percent of those interviewed said they never listen to an entire album.”
Grandell hopes to change those statistics by widening the record grooves to create a static-free, dense album that doesn’t warp or hiss. The sound created by the wider cuts, he says, is as close to a live concert as is possible with current technology.
Grandell’s determination to make better albums did not stop with a better recording technique. After the method was mastered, Grandell’s next task was to locate musicians who would sell their sound and indirectly promote the new type of album. Rather than recording an already recognized group, Grandell hand-picked musicians from throughout the Southwest. The contemporary band known as RE-ACK-SHUN began recording their first album seven days after Grandell brought them together.
As an extra measure of insurance, Wally Traugott of Capitol Records was hired to master the recording. Traugott, who has worked with Julio Iglesias, Duran Duran and Steve Miller, was chosen because, Grandell says, he’s considered one of the finest masters in the business.
Although executives at major recording studios were skeptical, Grandell says, interest is building now at four major labels. If a major label buys the idea, Grandell says he still wants to maintain his independence as a record and motion picture producer.
“I’d love to be involved with a major label,” he says. “But I still want a free hand in the development of this idea. I think I can still take it farther and im-prove on the quality even more.”
Although the four-song record was designed in response to public outcry, Grandell says that he shouldn’t be considered the consumer’s white knight. “I just thought it was time the record companies stopped raising prices while lowering the quality.”