Monday, January 9, 2012

Two Thirds Of All Albums Purchased In The US Are Still CDs

The future of all music is moving towards being purely digital. CD sales and vinyl will continue to be sold, but in vastly smaller quantities. The true die hard fans that support bands and enjoy having memorable packaging along with the music are the life blood. The future of recorded music is good and bad overall, just depends with whom you speak. This shift towards fully digital will be happening over many years to come, not directly impacted in 2012. Nor is it prophecy in the Mayan calendar, but time will tell.

Our main concern first and foremost, is that folks are still listening to great music and seeking relevant up and coming acts. Music is the elixir of the soul and whether you hear it on a crisp vinyl record or play it over itunes, you in one way or another are channeling emotions the music beckons upon you. A great album is equivalent to a classic novel. It has a long shelf life and can be played over and over telling stories that will bring back memories for a lifetime. Songs, notes and lyrics become epic characters and storylines taking the listener on vast journeys.

CD or vinyl packaging also plays directly into this notion and creates the skin to house the meat and bones that make up the full embodiment of an album. The cover artwork will follow the album for its entirety and leaves an indelible mark. If the photograph of the Beatles crossing Abbey Road had just been taken of the sign "Abbey Road" would it still resonate? Or what if Joe Strummer hadn't decided to smash his guitar in middle of the set on stage in New York in 1979, would "London Calling" be as powerful?

Keep on listening to digital music as a format, but don't let cds and vinyl become forever lost. If they are to go by the wayside then we lose part of the soul of an album, as the art and music paired together are its DNA.

The Beatle's - Abbey Road
The Clash's - London Calling

"The flat, clunky, physical CD isn't going anywhere, at least not in 2012. According to year-2011 breakdowns just shared by Nielsen Soundscan, more than two-thirds of all albums purchased in the US were physical CDs.  Out of a total of 330.6 million albums sold during the year - across all configurations - a healthy 223.5 million were discs, or 67.6 percent.

That follows an even more extreme breakdown from the UK.  Just a few days ago, label group BPI revealed that 76.1 percent of all albums purchased last year were CDs.

Back in the US, album unit sales edged slightly upward on the year, specifically by 1.3 percent.  CDs themselves slumped 5.7 percent, while digital albums gained a healthy 19.5 percent to reach a record 103.1 million units.  Vinyl gained 36.3 percent to nearly 4 million units, and cassette sales were negligible."

CD sales are still king overall, but digital in the future