Last month for the first time in history, the number one album sold fewer than 10,000 copies.
Arts correspondent Colin Paterson went to the announcement of this year's 12-strong Mercury Prize shortlist to ask why anyone should care about what appears to be a dying format.
Simon Frith, who chairs the judges at the Mercury Music Prize, said there is "an interesting divergence between musicians continuing commitment to album making and audience reluctance to buy albums".
He explained that people listen to music in a way which is now "more mobile and more distracted" and single tracks therefore "make sense".
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