Another Body Blow For Albums: Warner To Launch New Six Pak Format

In an acknowledgment of growing consumer dissatisfaction with the traditional CD format, for the first time a major label is replacing the typical 10-plus song CD release with two six-song CDs whose release dates are separated by mere months.

Warner Music Nashville will deliver Blake Shelton's "Hillbilly Bone" on March 2 as a "Six Pak," a six-song album of new material, to be followed by another six-song release in August. The August release date it tentative and Shelton has yet to record the second CD. Pricing is not yet available.

Shelton says industry reaction has been positive and ultimately, its better for his fans. "Fans will get more music than me putting out a new album every two years," he said. "It's a quicker way to get new music to them."

Warner Music Nashville senior VP of sales and marketing Peter Strickland said the Six Pak will enable artists "to deliver music to [fans] on a much more regular basis at a value price package."

Shelton was the right artist to launch this new strategy for several reasons, Strickland said, including "how fans react with him online and on the road. He's continuously being asked about when he has a new album coming out . . . and timing was good too because Blake was in the studio making a new record."

"Hillbilly Bone" is Shelton's sixth studio album. The Oklahoma native debuted in 2001 with the hit single "Austin," which spent five weeks at No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart. Since then he's hit the summit with "The Baby," "Some Beach," "Home" and "She Wouldn't Be Gone."