Many artists are wondering about how many songs they should put on their album — 10? 13? 21? 3?
An “album” is a concept of the past. It doesn’t make much sense anymore today except for very special cases (like concept albums).
The History of Albums
Albums were an invention of the recording industry. The length of an album was always defined by physical and marketing constraints, not by musical taste. Well, almost, there is the story that the inventor of the CD chose the length of 74min so that his favorite symphony could fit on it ;). Since pop music songs tend to be about 3–6 minutes long, you can fit 12–24 on a CD. And to fill all the space is always better than to leave it empty — from a marketing point of view.
Today you should not think in albums anymore (except the special cases mentioned). You should not even think of a “song” as a product with fixed length and sound anymore. Think of a song as a service you deliver to fans. It doesn’t have to sound the same every time they hear it. Change it, perform it, just read the words, talk about the political context of it … . All that is a song! Don’t let the old notion of the recording industry, that was driven by the marketing thinking of a long gone age, dictate what a “song” or an “album” is for you.