“In a dramatic acceleration of the seven-year sales decline that has battered the music industry, compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year plunged 20% from a year earlier, the latest sign of the seismic shift in the way consumers acquire music,” Ethan Smith reports for The Wall Street Journal.
“The sharp slide in sales of CDs, which still account for more than 85% of music sold, has far eclipsed the growth in sales of digital downloads, which were supposed to have been the industry’s salvation,” Smith reports.
Smith reports, “In recent weeks, the music industry has posted some of the weakest sales it has ever recorded. This year has already seen the two lowest-selling No. 1 albums since Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales, was launched in 1991. One week, ‘American Idol’ runner-up Chris Daughtry’s rock band sold just 65,000 copies of its chart-topping album; another week, the ‘Dreamgirls’ movie soundtrack sold a mere 60,000. As recently as 2005, there were many weeks when such tallies wouldn’t have been enough to crack the top 30 sellers. In prior years, it wasn’t uncommon for a No. 1 record to sell 500,000 or 600,000 copies a week.”
“The music industry has been banking on the rise of digital music to compensate for inevitable drops in sales of CDs. Apple’s 2003 launch of its iTunes Store was greeted as a new day in music retailing, one that would allow fans to conveniently and quickly snap up large amounts of music from limitless virtual shelves,” Smith reports. “It hasn’t worked out that way — at least so far. Digital sales of individual songs this year have risen 54% from a year earlier to 173.4 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But that’s nowhere near enough to offset the 20% decline from a year ago in CD sales to 81.5 million units.”
Smith continues, “Meanwhile, with music sales sliding for the first time even at some big-box chains, Best Buy has been quietly reducing the floor space it dedicates to music, according to music-distribution executives. Whether Wal-Mart and others will follow suit isn’t clear, but if they do it could spell more trouble for the record companies. The big-box chains already stocked far fewer titles than did the fading specialty retailers. As a result, it is harder for consumers to find and purchase older titles in stores.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Not to sound like a broken record, but when consumers have the ability to buy only the good tunes and are no longer forced to buy a CD full of filler crap, where’s the surprise in these numbers and trends? Hey, I like that song! Now it costs 99-cents instead of the $15 for the full CD of yesteryear. There’s a main reason for the sales decline. Here’s an idea: make more good songs and less bad ones (and stop with the DRM B.S. and think about upping the audio quality for legal online tracks while you’re at it) and you’ll probably sell more songs.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tommy Boy” for the heads up.]
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