Billboard just released its mid year numbers on music sales. Things aren’t so great unless you’re Justin Timberlake. Basically, everything is down, down down. First of all, physical CD sales are down 14.2 percent. Everything’s doing digital. But overall album sales are down 4.6 percent. Total sales of vinyl albums– LPs– are up 33>5 percent. But don’t get excited. They sold a total of 2.9 million copies. Digital total sales of albums are 60.8 million, up 6.3 percent. All together. sales for the first six months of 2013 are down 10 million from last– and that’s including perceived big hits like Timberlake, Macklemore & Lewsis and Bruno Mars.
Timberlake is the big story. He’s sold 2.55 million copies of the “20/20 Experience.” He’s followed, at almost at half that rate, by M&L, Bruno Mars, Imagine Dragons, Pink., Rihanna, Taylor Swift, Mumford and Sons, Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line.
The other big story is streaming, which is way up and may account for the slowdown in actual sales. You get the album on your Spotify or Pandora subscription, so why buy it? Streaming is up 24%. And personally, I get it. I rely on Spotify on all my devices. I was a teenager in 1973.
Here’s the difference between music from the summer of 1973 and 2013. You will not be hearing most of this stuff in 10 years. You will be hearing the music from 1973.
And guess who’s nowhere on these lists? Justin Bieber. For all his publicity, he produces music no one buys or listens to. He gets a little spike with a release, but nothing that lasts. So if this music on these lists is disposable, what does that make his ghastly warblings?
2013 YTD Top Ten Selling Albums
JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE / 20/20 EXPERIENCE
BRUNO MARS / UNORTHODOX JUKEBOX
MUMFORD & SONS / BABEL
BLAKE SHELTON / BASED ON A TRUE STORY
IMAGINE DRAGONS / NIGHT VISIONS
P!NK / TRUTH ABOUT LOVE
MACKLEMORE&RYAN LEWIS / THE HEIST
LUMINEERS / LUMINEERS
TAYLOR SWIFT / RED
DAFT PUNK / RANDOM ACCESS MEMORIES