Monopoly Guy

Could someone ask Adele to hurry up with that new album? Because the music business needs it now more than ever. Billboard reports that the U.S. record-buying public paid money for just 3.97 million albums last week, which means record sales for this week are the lowest they’ve ever been in a single week since Soundscan started keeping track of these things in 1991. (Records are incomplete, but it seems like you’d have to go back to around time time of the phonograph’s invention to find sales that low.) Digital sales, which were keeping the industry afloat for a little while there, have plummeted; they’re down 11.7% thus far this year. In that Billboard piece, a series of industry insiders blames the rise of streaming services for the decline in physical sales. Apparently, people just don’t mind listening to Spotify ads, which is good news for Spotify (until something else comes along) and bad news for everyone else. But hey, maybe Disney will make Frozen 2!

Comments (9)
  1. I’m interested to see how this correlates with sales of gig tickets. Have ticket sales increased as people move towards ‘I support the band by going to their shows but don’t buy the music’. Most people I know seem to follow that doctrine; heck I just pirated Bank’s new record, but also bought my second Banks ticket this year!

    It’d be interesting to see the numbers anyhow. There might be no correlation. I just want to find some sort of positive in this depressing news.

  2. I’m not sure of the correlation, but you can see ticket sale stats for current touring artists at boxscore.

  3. Please spare us the ‘are albums dead?!’ think pieces. It’s getting kinda boring. Streaming services and piracy are obviously big factors here, ‘why pay £10 for an MP3 when you can get it for free?’, similarly you can simply stream unlimited albums online for free and even save them offline.

    Another factor (and I hate to sound like a massive hipster douchebag here) but I do believe if he albums which the mainstream media force upon people were better I’m sure more people would buy them. Love or hate Pitchfork the recent 10′s lists proved that there have been some excellent records released in recent years, unfortunately those aren’t the kind of records that are marketable these days. I don’t care what you say, I will never think Ariana Grande is good.

    I still have hope in this format and will continue to pay for physical releases.

  4. Here’s a thought: Quit releasing crap music performed by skank hos and ignorant thugs.

  5. You might as well ask why video rental sales are down. The answer to both is because they’re both business models that no longer reflect the demands of the market. The answer is have a dynamic business model that changes along with the market, not to scream bloody murder and drag consumers to court etc.

    • I’m gonna second this but saying that the Big Three Record labels are still operating under an archaic business model. Big labels want to blame pirating but I don’t think that is the case. Big labels just don’t know how to do business anymore. It’s really their loss, not the artist’s loss. Artists can still make money; they just need to be a little creative and market themselves. The money lies in merchandising and touring, not albums anymore. Unfortunately, the big record labels don’t see it that way and therefore still operate like it was business in 1992.

  6. I know I am just one person, and I do not in any way constitute a trend, However, I believe many other music fans do the same as me:

    Yes, I buy fewer records now than before. The ones I do buy are mainly on vinyl and occasionally an MP3. On the other side, I am listening to 5x the amount of albums than just 5 years ago – all through Spotify, where I’ve had a subscription since the month it came to my country, This leads me to attend more concerts simply because I get into more bands (unfortunately, I don’t live in the best place for gigs, but that is a different matter).

    So is the album dying? I doubt it – it is still an art form people are into, they just use different ways to listen. Also, artists who do try other ways of releasing music (free mixtapes, release a song every month, 3 EPs in one year etc., all tend to go back to/start releasing albums in the traditional form again.

  7. Doesn’t help that CDs are still mostly priced too high. $15 for a CD I might not like is BS. And of course the data is going to be lower than 1991, when every major was looking for the “next Nirvana,” scooping up bands and then unceremoniously dropping them left and right. That model doesn’t work anymore. It does suck when I want to buy a release and there’s no plans to offer it on CD. I like the CD as a format (mostly for nostalgia reasons, the same with cassettes), but everything’s going digital or vinyl now.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post, reply to, or rate a comment.

%s1 / %s2