Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Pop Music: 50% of Sales First Half of 2017 Were “Deep Catalog”– Beatles, Elvis, Prince, Michael Jackson, Johnny Cash at Top


Sales figures are out for the record biz first half of 2017. Streaming is booming, and so is vinyl. CD sales are way down and so are downloads. Drake led the pack along with Ed Sheeran. This is all stuff we knew and wrote about as it was happening.

But here’s a statistic from Buzz Angle that’s hidden: 50% or more of all recorded sales were from the “deep catalog.” That’s old music. That’s half of everything. The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, Prince, Johnny¬†Cash and Pink Floyd finished among the top 25 artists in album sales from January 1st to July 1st.

How crazy is that? The Beatles sold 324,000 albums– mostly their “Sgt, Pepper” box set priced at $117.99. They were 8th on the list. They beat Adele, Lady Gaga, Harry Styles, twentyone pilots, and Zac Brown Band among others.

According to Buzz Angle (a newer service similar to SoundScan), 51.2% of album sales were deep catalog, 49,5% of song sales were from that category as well as 46.7% audio streams. Even more interesting: 59.3% of all video streams were from deep catalog.

People are listening to oldies more than new music. This is certainly reflected in recent radio ratings, in which oldies stations were handily beating Top 40.

What’s going on? Oldies are comfort food, especially in uncertain times. Even classic rock is soothing. Plus, it’s just better. The music is better. It’s not as disposable as current offerings. It means something. I always said, starting around 1990, there was going to be a problem with a generation of sampling in hip hop. A couple of generations are now missing original music from their repertoire. In the end, no one is humming rap songs. But “Motown” songs– they’re forever.

The funniest part of the mid year report: a lot of people bought the “Guardians of the Galaxy” soundtracks on cassette tape. Cassette tape? What are they playing them on? Maybe Sony will bring back the original Walkman!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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