CD sales plummet sharply; Digital albums no help | iLounge News

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CD sales plummet sharply; Digital albums no help

U.S. sales of music CDs plunged 20 percent in the first three months of the year, according to figures released by Nielsen SoundScan. “89 million CDs were sold from the start of the year through March 18 as compared with 112 million CDs sold during the same period in 2006,” reports AFP. “Purchases of digitized albums online failed to make up the difference—instead they dropped from 119 million during that time period in 2006 to 99 million during the first three months of this year, SoundScan reported. Meanwhile, sales of individual songs in digital format on the Internet rose from 242 million tracks during those months last year to 288 million this year.”

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Comments

1

By the outdated “album format” metric this looks like bad news, but my daughter and her friends buy music the way we did as kids - singles. I suggest that the metrics used in the music industry are lagging indicators. Music consumption (and the underlying distribution model) has changed forever and it’s time to stop using obsolete metrics to describe this business. It is self serving for the distributors, is used to justify offering fewer consumer choices, and limits revenue opportunities for artists.

Posted by DrakeBullet on March 22, 2007 at 11:03 AM (CDT)

2

I don’t think it has to do with “outdated metrics” at all. It is historic that kids go more for singles while a more mature audience prefer albuns… there are several reasons for that one of them being, off course, the budget they both have.
I think that record companies always fail to include the most important factor: Quality! Shouldn’t we interpret this drop in sales like a drop in music quality?

Posted by Vitor Jobling on March 22, 2007 at 11:09 AM (CDT)

3

Absolutely Victor. I’m a music nut and there just hasn’t beebn anything out new that has really made me go nuts to want to buy. I mean, a FEW albums over the past year but nothing like in previous years.

Posted by JWj on March 22, 2007 at 11:38 AM (CDT)

4

Drake and Vitor both make very valid points.

CD-singles are grossly overpriced.
Around $3-4 for 1 song, plus a few different versions and maybe another song included.  It only encouraged one to buy the whole album disc for $12-18.

Lots of music is crap these days. Lots of retarded record execs promoting flash in the pan artists. We will not see the like of the Stones, U2, Madonna et al ever again. Artists with dozens of hits and 20+ years of longetivity and creativity.  Lots of people are also starting to turn away from some genres like hard core rap or ignore some rock bands because it just sounds all the same, not much originality. Plus they all dated Paris Hilton at one time or another.

Posted by will_bc on March 22, 2007 at 11:48 AM (CDT)

5

I agree with everyone. I’m a teenager, and although I generally go for the whole album, probably 95% of my friends go for stupid cookie-cutter singles from these flash-in-the-pan artists that we hear on the radio instead of the likes of the stones, Beatles or Fleetwood Mac. Plus, most of them steal the singles from Limewire or something anyway. Out of probably 50 people I know with iPods, I’m the only one who really uses iTunes to actually purchase and legally own the stuff on my iPod.
  Also, these people are not buying the album because of their continuously declining attention spans. American society has moved into the digital age, and with the ability to purchase individual songs comes an economic change as well. Probably the best thing to do is to start making music that sounds special. The last album that I was really excited to buy was the Chili Peppers’ new one last May! It’s time for a reform…

Posted by brent on March 22, 2007 at 12:06 PM (CDT)

6

I think these numbers will justify the riaa even more in their witch hunts, however if the numbers are accurate and just some rough math it indicates people are tired of recieving filler songs on albums, they sold 23 million less albums in the last year and yet sold 46 million more songs.

Posted by jonathan downey on March 22, 2007 at 12:14 PM (CDT)

7

I buy the CDs of artist I like. If sales are down…its because there isnt any new artist out there worth it (Fergie, Timberlake, etc)

You would think the Record companies would add extras not availble through digital download. You can even get the booklet of liner notes of the CD from the digital download. What incentive is there rather than a physical object.

Posted by unreal on March 22, 2007 at 12:15 PM (CDT)

8

I guess this means the RIAA hasn’t sued enough teenagers yet? They have pointed to plummeting CD sales as justification for law suites against 12 year olds. Does this mean its not helping or that they haven’t seud enough?

Posted by T.S. on March 22, 2007 at 12:20 PM (CDT)

9

I’ve been doing my part.  I purchased a couple hundreds CDs last year.

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 22, 2007 at 12:30 PM (CDT)

10

There hasn’t been anything good for quite some time, plus, now that I have my entire library on my iPod, I don’t even listen to the radio in the car.
It had to happen, the industry has been hit by the fact that the bulk of their customers that have money and spend it, have already invested in iPods and are quite happy with their collections.
I have a 20 G iPod, and to get space on there, you better be good. Better than the stuff I already deem “my favorites”. Not only does the new music have to be good, it has to make me want to delete something to make room.

Tough order to fill.

Posted by Carl on March 22, 2007 at 12:42 PM (CDT)

11

This really isn’t that surprising.  The first few months of this year were marked by only a handfull of big releases.  The only albums that were really noteworthy were smaller, indie-related releases that have a limited audience.  It’s not an accident that bands like The Shins and Arcade Fire managed to make a dent in the Billboard 200 this year.  They were some of the only things released worth paying attention to.

Posted by JG on March 22, 2007 at 12:46 PM (CDT)

12

Yeah, a couple hundred blank cds.

Posted by Sid32 on March 22, 2007 at 12:47 PM (CDT)

13

I agree that there just haven’t been any albums released in the past year that have made me want to run right out and buy (or download) the CD.  I don’t necessarily think that a lack of quality big name releases should equate to the demise of quality music in general.  Bands like The Shins, Arcade Fire, TV on The Radio, The Decemberists, etc. are still making (in my opinion) outstanding music.  We may not see record execs jumping at these bands because they aren’t as commercially viable as say, Justin Timberlake, or Beyonce, but there are plenty of bands that will have 20+ year careers filled with creativity.  We just have to seek them out ourselves rather than flip on the radio.

I would attribute slow album sales to the consumer who has traditionally purchased an album for the couple songs they hear on the radio.  I know plenty of people that buy the new (insert singer’s name here) album for the song they hear on the radio.  Why spend the $15 when you can download the one, two, or three songs you really want for a fraction of the price.

Posted by mc123 on March 22, 2007 at 1:00 PM (CDT)

14

It’s hard to know why we consumers aren’t buying more CDs when there are so many good ones out there to buy. I’m talking to you, Paris Hilton, Kevin Federline, Fergie, and all you kids on American Idol. Maybe if the artists would stop going to rehab and just produce their wonderful music nonstop, we could save the RIAA. Maybe we need a Live 8 for CDs. Somebody call Bono…

Posted by Scott on March 22, 2007 at 1:17 PM (CDT)

15

Sid32, if you’re referring to me, I’d be happy to send you a photo of my CD collection.  Rock stars gotta eat, too!

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on March 22, 2007 at 1:31 PM (CDT)

16

I agree with everyone: Artists that suck, all the good artists are retiring or just haven’t put anything out, and downloading from Limewire and downloading individual songs from iTunes. We need some kind of music revolution to bring back good quality music instead of all this crappy stuff about sex and killing people. I am only 19 but I happen to enjoy music my parents and grandparents enjoyed. So the people that make music need to figure out making good quality albums instead of one time singles.

Posted by JW on March 22, 2007 at 1:32 PM (CDT)

17

I still buy a lot of cds.  Probably 5-10 a month.  However, most of what I buy is used so it does not count on these list.  Also most of the CDs I buy these days are from bands from the 50s-90s.  I can’t recall any bands that started in 2000 that I have bought a cd of.

I think used cd stores play a bigger part of the decline in numbers of new cd sales than most people think.  That coupled with the stagnant music genres would erode sales. 

If you look at where people buy CDs.  It’s either buying a $15-20 cd at a Best buy, target, or walmart or going to a local store which will mostly be used cds.

Posted by soleblaze on March 22, 2007 at 1:37 PM (CDT)

18

honestly, it really doesn’t matter to me what format the material comes in, it’s the price that matters most.  the last cd(s) i bought were from amazon, and only because they were all cheaper than $10, and were not available through the U.S. itunes store (nightwish).  itms quality is good enough for me, so having a hard copy is not that big of a deal.  the first thing i do when i buy one anyway is import it into itunes to listen to on my ipod.  also call me old school, but i usually only buy albums…usually after much preview, or from bands i already like or know about.  who has the time to go cd shopping anymore anyway?  because of the “fillers” I never buy music without previewing it first.  back in the day I used to take a chance and buy some artist I heard little about, but that was when cds used to regularly be under $10, and you didn’t have the option of listening to it first…it’s just too expensive to do that these days.  it seems the prices have went up and the quality of the artists’ creativity has gone down…imo.

Posted by franticnomad on March 22, 2007 at 2:21 PM (CDT)

19

There hasn’t been anything good for quite some time, plus, now that I have my entire library on my iPod, I don’t even listen to the radio in the car.
It had to happen, the industry has been hit by the fact that the bulk of their customers that have money and spend it, have already invested in iPods and are quite happy with their collections.
I have a 20 G iPod, and to get space on there, you better be good. Better than the stuff I already deem “my favorites”. Not only does the new music have to be good, it has to make me want to delete something to make room.

Tough order to fill.

Carl has a good point. the iPod is changing the way people listen to music.  if everyone is so busy enjoying ther music collection( hours maybe days) people are not discovering music thru the radio or other old fashion forms.  They are discovering it on itunes,  they they now have the option to get the individual song.

Posted by gbendana on March 22, 2007 at 2:53 PM (CDT)

20

I think downloading single tracks from iTunes is a lot better than buying the (entire) album because to me, theres no point buying the entire album just to listen to 2 or 3 songs, like my brother used to do before MP3’s came out.
I also think it’s a good thing that people are choosing to buy albums and songs from iTunes because the RIAA (hopefully) gets less money. F*** THE RIAA!
Personally, I listen to the radio to get new songs, I don’t browse iTunes for good songs. I listen to the radio, and if there is a good song I hop over to my PC and download it.

Posted by The Soup Nazi on March 22, 2007 at 2:56 PM (CDT)

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