Sunday, May 26, 2024

Chart Shocker: Lowest Pop Sales Yet as Top Album, “Descendants” Soundtrack, Sells Just 31,000 Copies


Good grief! The record business hits an all time low this week as the top album– “The Descendants”– sold only 31,000 copies.

The second, third, and fourth spots on the Top album charts goes to reissues from Led Zeppelin. The 40 year old albums sold around 70,000 copies total.

Last week pretty much no one bought new music. Even Taylor Swift’s reliable “1989” album sold just 20,000 copies.

The number 50 album, the soundtrack to “50 Shades of Grey,” sold just 4,354 copies.

The music business is in free fall. Where are the great songs of summer, the big beach hits?

Who’s to blame? Radio would be my first choice. They’ve killed opportunities for new records, and limited their rotations to the same junk over and over. There’s also no variation.

Sirius is fine, but it’s expensive and skews a little older. Apple Music’s Beats 1 is the new hot thing to listen to on iPods and iPhones. But it’s not clear if music played there is translating to sales.

Spotify and other streaming services are how kids are getting their music. I guess kids don’t have record collections any more. What a shame.

This would be the moment for a big surprise release, something to really shake up the industry and the fans. But even the artists are scared– they know music isn’t selling. Even One Direction’s new single leveled off quickly.

The real test will be when Justin Bieber drops something — an album, a single– besides his pants, on August 28th. That will be his Stevie Wonder moment, when he actually puts up or shuts up with real music and not just bubblegum.

But I am surprised there isn’t more panic.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
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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