Album vs Record – Difference and Comparison

What is Album?

An album is a collection of songs the artist chooses to release together. The word itself has Latin-German origins. The Latin phrase ‘album amicorum’ referred to a blank book (souvenir book) in which anything could be documented. The word ‘album’ was taken from this phrase into the English language. In today’s world, the word album refers mostly to an artist’s creation. Most artists choose one or two songs they especially like from the album and promote it the most. It has a music video and is called the album’s title song. Album sales are a common topic in the music industry.

Album sales are a matter of greater prestige because it means all the songs or at least a majority, were appealing to the audience. It signifies that the artist can engage people for a long time, maybe even an hour. In the Grammys, the award category of ‘Album of the Year’ is highly sought after. If the Grammys themselves certify that the album is a good one, it significantly adds to an artist’s reputation.

What is Record?

The word record has multiple meanings. It has French-Latin roots. French adopted the phrase ‘bring to remembrance’ from the Latin word recordari, meaning remember. As a noun, it previously meant writing down evidence for the law. As a verb, it was originally meant to narrate orally or in writing. It has slightly different meanings as a noun and a verb in modern times.

As a noun, it means a physical record of something that matters to the person who records it. It could count as evidence. Another meaning, related to the music industry, refers to a single song. A record goes into a little more detail as a song, noting the production and other elements of it. As a verb, it means the act of creating this evidence. It could mean audio recording, video recording, or writing to maintain a record. In everyday speaking, ‘I am recording’ means audio or video documentation.

In the Grammys, the ‘Record of the Year’ category is a prestigious honor. The award goes to artists, recording engineers, producers, and mixers. It recognizes a song’s performance and production, giving importance to different aspects of music than the ‘Song of the Year’ category.

Difference Between Album and Record

  1. The album refers to a collection of songs the artist presents as a set, whereas the record refers to a single song.
  2. The word ‘album’ has German Latin origins, and the word ‘record’ has French Latin origins.
  3. Album can only be considered a noun. The word record, however, has multiple meanings and can be used a verb or noun depending on the context.
  4. Album sales have a lot of value in the music industry and can raise the artist’s value. Record sales are also a great thing, but it gets the artist more popularity rather than value.
  5. The Grammy category for album is ‘Album of the Year’. For record, the corresponding Grammy category is ‘Record of the Year’.
  6. The old usage of record could mean any number of songs. It referred to anything pressed into a vinyl disc. The word album, however, always meant an assemblage of songs.

Comparison Between Album and Record

Parameters of ComparisonAlbumRecord
Origin of phraseTaken from a Latin phrase meaning ‘neuter of albus’.Taken from a French word meaning ‘remembrance’.
Similar meaning wordsNotebook, Index, Anthology, Register, PortfolioInformation, Track Record, Documentation, Proof, Reputation
Part of SpeechUsed as a nounUsed as a verb or noun, depending on the context
Essential DifferenceRefers to a collection of songsRefers to one song  
Grammy award categoryAlbum of the YearRecord of the Year