Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Well, THIS is Encouraging...

As I've mentioned before, I'm just about to release my 6th proper album in a couple weeks. I've been releasing albums for ten years now, as well as operating a small label, so the fact that the music industry is struggling is no surprise to me. However, this excerpt from an article from the Chicago Tribune shocked me a little...

"We''ll have plenty more in upcoming days, but as a backdrop for the summit, here are a few tidbits of information shared by publicist Ariel Hyatt about U.S. album sales in 2008: More than 115,000 albums were released, but only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies, a mere 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 cracked the 1,000 barrier..."


Anonymous said...

Yikes! The next post should be about what we're all supposed to do about this.

I'm going start the conversation saying we have to get creative with the ways in which we do music. Maybe some of us need to get artist/band out of our heads and focus on something else. Not sure what that's to be. Maybe it's studio work for others, engineering, producing, not sure...

Then again, there is touring......

-Tom N

Vlad said...

Well, it's no news in this country (Russia). Nearly all artists here make money from touring and/or (in the last 4-5 years) ringtones, and this had been like that for some 20 years at least (I don't know much data for the Soviet times).

dave romero said...

what are the numbers for 1998? 1988?

or how about 1968?

i'm curious about how much better things really were

Will C. said...

It's basic economics. Too many people are putting out albums right now for any of them to be very popular. Supply far exceeds demand--and the only demand that even close to fits the enormous supply of new albums is the voracious demand of filesharers for more and more "free" music.

dave romero said...

a quick search for more details got this from
Nielsen SoundScan 2008 report:

Music purchases in 2008 reached 1.5 Billion, marking the fourth consecutive year music sales have exceeded 1 billion

Growth in Overall Music Purchases Exceeds 10%



dave romero said...

just one more bit from that report:

Digital Album sales reached an all-time high with more than 65 million sales in 2008

go read more

aL: said...

The SoundScan numbers don't necessarily contradict the numbers from the Tribune article. While overall sales may be "up" as far as SoundScan is concerned (and their main concern is painting a rosy picture of the music retail industry), those increases are realized on a far smaller percentage of overall releases.

Besides which, SoundScan don't track ALL releases or sales. Anything sold independently (as in, not through a major retailer) aren't tracked at all unless the seller chooses to submit numbers to SoundScan.

Not meant as a knock on Dave... just a different perspective on the numbers...

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment beneath article:

The facts in the article come as no surprise to me. Soundscan has been publishing this same information matrix annually for about a decade and the percentages are about the same. The total number of releases has been creeping up and the overall sales are down, but the percentage of successful front line albums remain at less than 1%.

The industry generally equates 10 single track downloads as the equivalent of one album for statistical purposes. And do you know that this does not include digital downloads? Neilsen/SoundScan have been tracking that data for a number of years as well.

This is almost exactly parallel to the book business where less than 5 percent of the published titles account for the overwhelming majority of sales.

As usual, when it comes to the layman comments regarding sales and the music industry, most armchair quarterbacks have their 'facts' significantly in error.

You can view the full data report here:


Joey said...

Allow me to chime in with the token controversial comments:

Music is free anyway!

In this day and age, you need to give it away, period, anyone expecting to make money off of album sales is up for a rude awakening.

Fact is, the internet has put the power back in the hands of the artists. We have a direct line to fans, we can ignore the middle man.

I'm more worried about the quality of my art than how much money I will make off of it. I'm not expecting to make any money off of it until maybe my second or third album, and then not very much.

Starving musician will become a very real concept to all of us soon, the sooner you cope the faster. The age of the rockstar is over.

mangadrive said...

News articles like that don't discourage me from making music. Maybe changing the way I approach sales (which aren't bad for me just being me), but the statistics rarely show you that most of those albums produced were not with artistic intent in the first place. Most of the ones that were in artistic intent had very little business sense behind them. It requires a bit of both and yes you have to have a different strategy to sell albums these days, but its not impossible.

Giving it away is not a suggestion to make things better. Making it easy to buy and giving them a product worth buying for a very reasonable price is a better solution. If you are coming from the perspective that Trent, Smashing Pumpkins and Pink Floyd all don't care about piracy and give stuff away, then realize they were established before Itunes was beating the dog crap out of the physical market. These guys needing to established and 'make it' just isn't part of the focus

Joey said...

I realize that you need a good marketing scheme as mucha s you need good art, but my point is, I'd rather have more people listening.

Its not about making things better, you can't make them "better". what does that even mean?

to make sales go back to the golden age of the 80s and 90s?

that will never happen again, period. piracy has made that kind of business model obsolete

fact is, album sales are going to become a thing of the past when measuring the success of a band

and like i said before, the power is back in the hands of the musician. it is our time to shine with direct connection to the fanbase

again, I'm more worried if I am making the best music I can make before I worry about marketing. You can have all the great marketing you want but if your music isnt up to par then your 15 minutes will only last so long

and who needs that anyway?

I should also point out that artists like NIN, Smashing Pumpkins, and Pink Floyd are all innovative artists who stuck to their guns and wrote the music they believed in, not the music that the mainstream demanded, and look where they are now. Nobody can deny the talent of any of those musicians.

mangadrive said...

Oh I agree 100% Joey. Finding and talking to people that enjoy your music is way cooler than the royalty check for me. Obviously you make music to be heard so that should be the focus.

I've entered a lot of conversations like this recently and the whole 'music should be free' thing just bothers me. You explained yourself logically of course, but the guy with three months of experience and a myspace page just doesn't really understand sacrifice and the person that doesn't make music but wants free stuff doesn't really understand they are the only winners when it comes to free music. I just mentioned those 3 bands cause more often than not they are the first 3 mentioned every single time, but like you said they had something special. The argument though is simply 'they give stuff for free so you should to'. I dunno..its just something I've seen lately and the lack of education towards what some people suggest just makes me wanna punch a kitten sometimes.

Again solid points on your part and like you said if you aren't out there using all this new Twitter and widget stuff then you are falling back.

fixate said...

Value is so much more important now.

I have heard so many new albums in the last year that were certainly hyped up enough, but just did not live up whatsoever.

We need to make it worth a fan's $10 bucks to go through the ordering process instead of just grabbing a torrent.