Illegal downloads didn’t kill it, YouTube didn’t kill it, crappy new bands didn’t kill it. In fact, according to mid-year reports by Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard, music sales are actually up — 4 percent over this time last year — despite tough economic times. And while you might expect that the sales of singles are faring way better in the digital age, album sales are still doing well. Heck, vinyl album sales are actually up 14 percent — as if this were the 70s.
The biggest gain was reported in sales of digital singles for electronic/dance music, which was up a whopping 65 percent. And rock and roll, statistically speaking, is not dead — digitical singles were up 11 percent in that genre.
Adele’s album “21″ topped the list with 3.7 million sales, followed by Lionel Richie’s “Tuskegee,” which sold 912,000 — more than his last three solo albums combined. After Whitney Houston’s death, sales of her music fared well — just as it did for Michael Jackson after his death. Her greatest hits album sold 818, 000 copies over the last six months.
Now, of course, when I say the music industry isn’t dead, I’m referring to sales. But that doesn’t mean what’s out there is any good. If Justin Bieber sells a million records, that’s not necessarilly a good sign for those who appreciate good music.
The year’s top singles so far — based on sales — are:
1. SOMEBODY THAT I USED TO…GOTYE FEAT. KIMBRA 5,501,000
2. WE ARE YOUNGFUN. FEAT. JANELLE MONAE 5,087,000
3. CALL ME MAYBE CARLY RAE JEPSEN 4,064,000
4. STRONGER (WHAT DOESN’T…)KELLY CLARKSON 3,324,000
5. STARSHIPS NICKI MINAJ 3,158,000
6. PAYPHONE MAROON 5 FEAT. WIZ KHALIFA 3,075,000
7. GLAD YOU CAME THE WANTED 2,892,000
8. WHAT MAKES YOU BEAUTIFUL ONE DIRECTION 2,885,000
9. WILD ONESFLO RIDA FEAT. SIA 2,790,000
10. BOYFRIEND JUSTN BIEBER 2,599,000
So, yeah — people are clearly making enough money to buy an “MTV Cribs” type of pad. But that list isn’t exactly stellar. Remember when you could look at the Billboard top ten list, and you’d actually like seven or eight of those songs? And the fact that electronic/dance music is doing so well isn’t exactly encouraging to me.
While the increase in vinyl album sales might make some of us feel nostalgic, the top-selling vinyl record is Jack White’s “Blunderbuss,” which has sold just 18,000 copies on vinyl.
Hardly a vinyl revival.
So the good news is if you have dreams of becoming a rich and famous musician, it’s still possible. The bad news is that your chances are much better if your music sounds like Katy Perry’s.
Speaking of music, the Zongo All-Stars will perform tonight (Friday) as part of the Concerts at the Mission series in San Luis Obispo. The outdoor venue is always a great place to hear local acts.
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