Thursday, July 09, 2009

So many albums released, so few buyers

As a short follow up to my review of Chris Anderson's Free earlier this week, here is a quote from an article in today's DigitalMusicNews:

"At the recent A2IM (American Association of Independent Music) annual gathering in New York, some scary numbers were floating around. According to Nielsen Soundscan, a total of 105,000, new full-length albums were released in 2008, a fourfold gain from the earlier 2000s. And of that pot, just 6,000 releases sold 1,000 units or more in the first year.
Across the pond, similar information emerged. During a DIY discussion at Musexpo Europe in London last week, industry consultant Keith Jopling noted that over 30,000 albums are released every year in the United Kingdom, a 30 percent gain since 2000. Other markets are undoubtedly experiencing similar booms, based on the ability of any artist to create cheaply, upload instantly, and build fanbases directly."

That figure of only 6,000 selling more than 1,000 in the first year (presumably they only count the first year) is extraordinary.

The same issue of DigitalMusicNews also reports: "US-based album sales during the first half were down 14.7 percent year-over-year, across all formats - CD, LP, digital album download, etc. The tally for the first 26 weeks was 174.5 million units."

Alan McGee's line about the digitalisation of music is that it means that people who make music will be the people who want to express themselves, rather than the ones who are trying to make money is vindicated in this. Music always was a hobby to most, but now even more so.

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