The drop in CD sales, which has been bemoaned since the rise of Napster in the late 90s, still has the power to shock when you look at the numbers:
"The music business is in a free fall. Sales of new albums have dropped more than 45 percent the last eight years. In 2000 consumers in the United States bought 785 million albums. In 2008 they bought 428 million.Hmm...people still like music and everybody in the Western world seems to be walking around with an iPod. Have they simply stopped buying and listening to new music? Of course not, a few people buy the CDs and put them up on the file sharing sites for hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other people to download for free.
In 2000 the 10 best-selling albums sold 60 million units. In 2008 that figure was 18.8 million."
(Perhaps we could somehow make it a patriotic duty for people to stop their habit of illegal file sharing and actually buy CDs again, so CD pressing plants, distributors, music publicists, and record stores, etc. could expand their payrolls and hire more people--kind of like a pop culture stimulus plan? Whaddaya think, President Obama?)
There is one tiny spot of sunshine in this music industry death watch:
"According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of vinyl records nearly doubled nationwide in 2008, from just less than 1 million in 2007 to almost 1.9 million. More vinyl records were sold last year than in any year since SoundScan started tracking music sales in 1991.In the last two years, I've probably bought more vinyl than in the previous eight--largely because there is more of it being released, plus I'm from a generation of music fans that actually grew up with records (and cassettes!). Whatever the reasons are behind this micro-trend, I hope it continues and helps to save indie labels and mom-and-pop record stores from oblivion.
That 1.9 million represents less than half of 1 percent of all the albums sold in 2008, but these days any upward trend in sales is going to be noticed and explored by both labels and record stores."
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Here is another interesting piece about the resurgence of vinyl and its impact on NYC record stores from AM New York.