Catalog sales were at 76.6 million for the first half of the year, compared to 73.9 million current albums. The top selling catalog items include Guns 'n Roses Greatest Hits, and four by Whitney Houston (no doubt boosted by her untimely death).
There seems to be a couple of reasons for the turnaround:
1) There hasn't been a blockbuster hit by a superstar act during the period (although Adele's 21 still continues to be strong seller, though it was released last year).
2) Record labels and retailers have dropped the prices on catalog items to $4.99 to $7.99. Compared with a current CD price of $13 to $18 and a digital album from $7.99 to $10.99, catalog items are a bargain.
3) The buyers of albums are predominantly older and purchase more albums, especially catalog items.
All this signals an uptick in business for brick and mortar retailers, which is good for the industry. Let's see if this trend continues until the end of the year.
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