Graeme Thomson, blogging over on The Guardian, provides a eulogy for the album - not in a 'the sky is falling and so are sales' way, but lamenting the loss of how we used to listen to music:
I'd argue that the digital age makes music more accessible but somehow less tangible. I've always regarded the cover, the artwork, the inner sleeve, even the typeface of a new album as a doorway into new music, a means to get closer to it, further to understand what is being expressed this time around. When there is no physical element to link us to the music, surely some vital little part of the over-arching artistic statement is lost.
I'm not sure the distinction is quite so clear-cut: certainly, by the 1990s any album you'd want to buy, you'd probably have heard a couple of tracks as singles, maybe one or two on Peel and - possibly - seen some other tracks live, so it's not as if it's ever been that you were coming to a whole slew of unheard music, unless you were buying the album on spec.
For me, I still listen to albums all the way through, but then I'm bloody ancient. I only really managed to overcome my distrust of shuffling the order of album tracks randomly last year.