Home Music Bad News for Music Biz: Streaming Conquers Actual Sales, No New Artists...

I’m afraid it’s not good news for the music/record business. According to the annual survey of the biz by Nielsen SoundScan, actual sales are way down and they’re being replaced by streaming. People don’t want to own the music as much as play it on their devices. And no new artists are selling well enough to make any headway in the culture. All the top 10 selling albums of the last 22 years were released prior to the year 2000. Ouch.

In fact the only artist with significant sales in the last 10 years is Eminem. Otherwise, the list from 1991 until now of best selling artists is Garth Brooks, the Beatles, Mariah Carey, Metallica, Celine Dion, George Strait, Eminem, Tim McGraw, Alan Jackson, and Pink Floyd.

Michael Jackson is not on that list. If you’re graduating from college this year, this means that no artist in your lifetime has made a significant impact sales-wise. That’s sort of stunning. And no album released since 2000 has sold more than 11.2 million copies.

Think of how this is different than movies. New movies that are box office hits come onto the ‘all-time’ charts and replace old ones, like “Avatar” or “Lord of the Rings” unseating “Star Wars” or “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” In the music business, nothing new is replacing the catalog of older material.

In 2013, total sales of albums was down a whopping 8%. That’s everything– physical, digital, Lps, all genres.

CD sales were down 13%. Digital sales were unchanged. This means that most people are listening to highly compressed recordings and missing about 25% of what was intended for the listener. Isn’t that great?

Overall streaming from Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, et al was up a gigantic 32%. Music is streamed on computers, mobile devices, and not on stereos. Sean Parker had it right about Spotify. iTunes radio, Beats (formerly MOG) and others are next. Pandora is incredibly popular. Music is now entirely disposable.

Not surprisingly, tastes are running broader and less sophisticated. Jazz album sales fell the most last year, by 18.6%. Electronic music fell the least –0.3%. The good news: classical music was up 4.9%.

Top Sellers Of The Soundscan Era

 

Top Selling Albums Of SoundScan Era                                       Top Selling Artists OF SOUNDSCAN ERA

(Based on Album Sales from 1991 – 12/29/2013)                                                               (Based on Album Sales from 1991 – 12/29/2013)         

                                                                                                           

 

Title/Artist

Units Sold

 

 

Artist

Units Sold

1

METALLICA  / METALLICA

15,948,000

 

1

GARTH BROOKS

69,424,000

2

TWAIN*SHANIA / COME ON OVER

15,547,000

 

2

BEATLES

64,111,000

3

MORISSETTE*ALANIS / JAGGED LITTLE PILL

14,895,000

 

3

MARIAH CAREY

54,209,000

4

BEATLES / BEATLES 1

12,281,000

 

4

METALLICA

54,129,000

5

BACKSTREET BOYS / MILLENNIUM

12,241,000

 

5

DION*CELINE

52,159,000

6

BODYGUARD / SOUNDTRACK

12,085,000

 

6

STRAIT*GEORGE

44,781,000

7

SANTANA / SUPERNATURAL

11,792,000

 

7

EMINEM

44,469,000

8

CREED / HUMAN CLAY

11,674,000

 

8

MCGRAW*TIM

41,844,000

9

MARLEY*BOB & THE WAILERS / LEGEND

11,458,000

 

9

JACKSON*ALAN

40,361,000

10

‘N SYNC / NO STRINGS ATTACHED

11,152,000

 

10

PINK FLOYD

38,508,000

What do you think?

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