Entertainment

National Album Day announced to celebrate UK's love of the music format

The special day to celebrate albums will take place 70 years after the first album was released.

Music lovers will be asked to nominate and share the album that has most inspired them for the first National Album Day, launched in the year of the 70th anniversary of the first LP.

The inaugural annual event, supported by BBC Music, will take place on October 13 and celebrate the UK’s love of the album.

The first recognised album in the UK, the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto in E Minor on the Columbia Masterworks label, was released in June 1948.

The day will mark the culmination of a week-long series of events across the country, celebrating both new and classic releases across all genres, and paying tribute to sleeve artwork.

Paloma Faith
Paloma Faith said the album remained the ultimate expression of the songwriter’s craft (Isabel Infantes/PA)

The event’s official broadcast partner BBC Music will air support for the initiative across BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 1Xtra, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 6 Music stations, and also on BBC iPlayer and BBC Four.

There will also be retail events, online listening parties and a social media campaign, which will invite people to nominate and share their most inspirational albums.

At 3.33pm on National Album Day, fans, shops, radio stations and public spaces will be invited to play their favourite album in full.

The format’s influence on music lovers is said to be growing, as data from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) shows that 135 million albums, or their equivalent, were purchased or downloaded in 2017, an increase of 9.5% on the previous year.

The BPI estimates that five billion albums have been sold in the UK over the past 70 years.

Singer-songwriter Paloma Faith is one of the first artist ambassadors of National Album Day.

She said: “I vividly remember being excited by so many classic albums as I was growing up, like Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On, Dylan’s Freewheelin’, and Erykah Badu’s Mama’s Gun, although, if I had to pick one, the album that most inspired me was Tracy Chapman’s self-titled debut.

“It featured the incredibly powerful Why? – a song that has become a real anthem for me not least as it was the first to bring home the emotional power of lyrics.

“The way we engage with music may be changing, but for me the album remains the ultimate expression of the songwriter’s craft.”

James Stirling, head of content commissioning, BBC Music, said: “BBC Music is proud to support the first National Album Day.

“The role of the album has evolved over 70 years – through vinyl and beautiful artwork to current streaming consumption – yet the story behind a great album remains an important part of British culture.

“We look forward to exploring the album in all its glory and telling these stories across the BBC.”

National Album Day is jointly organised by Entertainment Retailers Association and the BPI, and is supported by the wider music community, including the Official Charts Company, and industry umbrella body UK Music.

Geoff Taylor, chief executive BPI and Brit Awards, said: “It is fitting that, in this 70th anniversary year, we should look to create a special moment that celebrates the UK’s love of the album and the huge role it plays at the heart of our popular culture.

“The album has underpinned the phenomenal success of recorded music the world over, providing artists with a compelling medium through which to express their creativity and fans the freedom to engage with all shades of music through the stories that it tells.

“Streaming may be broadening our ability to access and discover music, but the concept of the album as a body of work that expresses a narrative or an artist’s creative vision at a given moment, remains as relevant and inspiring as ever.”

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