Many in the music industry agree that the iTunes Music Store has changed the face of music, possibly saving the industry from turmoil decline, but one reporter is suggesting that the advent of online music distribution has done more than that, it has spelled the end of the album.

Sydney Morning Herald's (free subscription required) Steve Dow has declared that the album will die when Apple launches its iTunes Music Store in Australia.

He writes: "The single is about to be declared king, and the concept of recording a year's output of songs and calling it an album is in terminal decline."

Dow suggests that music connoisseurs today are not prepared to "suffer a pop group of artist's entire yearly quota of work, which is often recorded just to meet music labels' contractual obligations", when they can surf the Web and find the song they want.

Rock historian Glenn Baker agrees that the end of the album is near. He told Dow: "Our attention spans are shortening. People are going back to saying, 'I love the song more than the whole album'."

This is not necessarily a bad thing for music as artists can now tailor their output to better quality songs. Baker explains: "Artists don't want to make 12 songs when they've only got four good ones in them," he says.

"The EP seems to have re-emerged out of all this upheaval of quality over quantity", writes Dow.