Thursday, July 5, 2012

Music Sales For 2012 Not Pretty

Soundscan image from Bobby Owsinski's Music 3.0 blog
Soundscan released its mid-year music sales report on Wednesday and for the most part, the state of the industry is not pretty.

Album sales are down 3% from last year, but that's not the worry. The biggest seller is still Adele's 21, an album released at the beginning of last year. New albums from superstars like Justin Bieber, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen and Nicki Minaj have yet to make much of a sales dent.

150 million albums have been sold so far this year, behind last years 155 million. Adele's 21 has sold 3.69 million this year and more than 9.4 million in the US since it was released in January of 2011. What's a bit depressing is that 21 is the only album that's cracked the million barrier this year. Lionel Ritchie's Tuskegee is close with 912,000, and the latest boy band sensation One Direction and their Up All Night comes in third at 899,000.

But only 11 albums have gone past 500,000 this year so far, despite all the superstar releases. This is also down from last year when 16 went gold by this time.

Singles are a bright spot, however, as they're up over last year by 6%. The top selling track is Gotye's "Somebody That I Used To Know," with over 5.5 million downloads since the first of the year. fun.'s "We Are Young" is the runner up with 5.09 million sold, with Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" (which is selling for a quarter on Amazon MP3) coming in third with 4 million downloads.

Even those numbers are down a bit though. In 2012, 47 songs have sold at least a million, while in 2011, 52 songs had reached that point by this time of the year.

Is streaming starting to take it's toll?

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Jef Knight said...

streaming...and a world-wide recession.


Scott Lavender said...

Has the industry outgrown the "cult of superstar"?

Technology today allows many more creative people to quickly create and distribute quality music to more people for less money.

I remember looking forward to the next Eagles album because I expected a magnus opus. When an LP like that was released every year or two, it was a significant event.

That can translate through Metallica and then Nirvana for the 80's and 90's, perhaps.

Today's creative and well produced music is available so often and from so many sources that I don't find myself pining for new music from a particular, favorite artist like I used to anymore.

I dare say that if artists like Madonna (or the Eagles) were just starting their careers today that they would NOT be the superstars in the pantheon of music legend as they currently hold. That isn't to say they wouldn't be successful, just not regarded as highly (or mythically). Rather than representing a limited number of summits of creative music, I suggest they would be just another artist amongst the milieu.


Bobby Owsinski said...

You may be right that the age of the true superstar is over, Scott.


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