Album Sales Enjoy First Increase Since ’04
After seven years of decreasing sales, the U.S. music industry enjoyed its first rise in record sales since 2004. Research provided by Nielsen SoundScan showed a one percent increase in total music sales, both digital and physical, for the first half of 2011.
This study, which documents point-of-purchase sales, indicated approximately 155.5 million albums were purchased in the last six months. In the same period of 2010, only 153.9 million were sold.
In a time where music piracy and illegal file sharing are exponentially growing in popularity, not to mention listeners are suffering from the lingering bite of an ongoing recession, it’s one hell of a miracle to see a rise in album sales. After early leaders in the industry’s digital market, such as iTunes and Napster, began selling singles for as little as one dollar per song, the album has never quite recovered.
Meanwhile, traditional artists continue to scream foul and champion a past where complete records were treated as sentimental works of art, as opposed to their fragmented tracks. However, in an age of short attention spans and a growing impatience with elongated entertainment, it seems unfortunately natural for the album to wither away, as artists pave their legacies in billboard-smashing tracks and singles.
Will this trend in album sales continue?
I wouldn’t bet on it. But it was fun to give CD’s one last breath before the final curb stomp.