The whole record industry is waiting for Friday and the release of a new album by country superstar Luke Bryan. His last album, released exactly two years ago, sold 2,450,000 copies by the end of its run.
Bryan is the only artist with a new album scheduled between now and Labor Day to have sold more than 500,000 copies of their last release.
This week, the total units sold adding up the whole top 20 albums was 426,500 copies. Total. Everything.
This means no one is buying CDs, and no one is paying for digital downloads. The number 1 album this past week, “Woman,” by Jill Scott, sold just under 58,000 copies. If you add in paid streaming, the number goes up to 61,357. So the streaming is nice, but it didn’t make a substantial difference.
The music business is in a deep ditch. The only two albums that are really still selling — by Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran, respectively– were released last year.
All the hype of tabloids and invented gossip has realized very little in actual sales.
Ironically, Taylor Swift is really doing a booming business from streaming after writing her famous letter to AppleMusic and pulling her album “1989” off of Spotify. Last week, Taylor had around 25,000 paid streams from AppleMusic. She only sold 23,425 CDs and digital downloads. Call it Swift Justice, but Taylor’s protest benefited her greatly.
Things are not promising for the immediate future, however, as far as new releases. Five Finger Death Punch has that new album on September 4th. Their last release sold 510,000 copies. No one over 25 has ever heard of them.
On September 25th, Don Henley of the Eagles is releasing a country album. It’s his first solo release since 2000. That last album sold 1.1 million copies. But that was long before, gosh, the world turned upside down. Who knows what will happen when “Cass County” comes out?
I’m sorry to write such a sad story. It’s a buzz kill, isn’t it? The Grammy deadline will close on September 30th without any important new albums. In February, Taylor Swift will collect many statues for “1989,” an album that by then will have been in circulation for 15 months.
Is someone planning a surprise release? Justin Bieber won’t cut it. His records don’t sell and they don’t get a lot of radio play. He’s not a serious artist. I don’t even know who that would be at this point? A new Alicia Keys record might be good. John Mayer? Foo Fighters? Beyonce?
And what happened to the big stars of two years ago? Remember when Macklemore was a name you couldn’t get away from? Adele? Hello? Adele? Emile Sande?
The field is wide open for something unexpected and wonderful. We really need it. ASAP.