Results are out! Find what you need...fast. Get quick advice or join the chat
Hey there Sign in to join this conversationNew here? Join for free

Why are US album sales in decline?

Announcements Posted on
Live webchat: Student Finance explained - on TSR from 2 - 3pm 17-09-2014
Got a question about Student Finance? Ask the experts this week on TSR! 14-09-2014
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    It's clear that illegal downloading of music has had an impact on the music industry, though it hasn't stifled creativity. But consumers settle for buying singles and songs (digitally, more so) instead of opting for a full set of songs by their favourite artists. Cheaper, and allows more choice, I guess.

    But for the US music industry in particular, album sales are on a steady drop. It's not uncommon for albums to see 50%+ sales drops in their second week. 18 months ago, a No. 1 album (Mission Bell, by Amos Lee) sold 40,000. That mark is terrible, even for the generally low post-Christmas sales.

    Though economics may tell us that an album sales decline was bound to happen, maybe it reflects social trends too. What does everyone else think?

    (Of course there's a similar pattern of sales in the UK music industry, but I've not mentioned it because I feel the pattern is not so sharp. I may be wrong, so I'll invite comments about what others think here.)
    • 15 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Because people think they are entitled to music for free (which is ridiculous) and come up with flimsy excuses as to why they won't buy music.

    On top of that the economy is no better, people can't afford luxury items like CD's/paid mp3s quite as much, and as there is a free, albeit illegal, alternative people will use that.

    Also music has more competition from other forms of entertainment than in previous decades. In the 60's/70s there weren't mobile phones, video games, computers, ipods, and all this kind of stuff. So people were more willing to spend their money on music as there was less choice in what to spend leisure money on.

    And in terms of the type of music that makes it into the charts, there is less emphasis on writing albums now as singles, as singles obviously sell more these days. So albums aren't so good, they are just collections of songs rather than well thought out albums. Of course this is a generalisation and all genres outside of the mainstream, and some mainstream artists do care about making great albums.
    • 9 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by metalthrashin'mad)
    Because people think they are entitled to music for free (which is ridiculous) and come up with flimsy excuses as to why they won't buy music.

    On top of that the economy is no better, people can't afford luxury items like CD's/paid mp3s quite as much, and as there is a free, albeit illegal, alternative people will use that.

    Also music has more competition from other forms of entertainment than in previous decades. In the 60's/70s there weren't mobile phones, video games, computers, ipods, and all this kind of stuff. So people were more willing to spend their money on music as there was less choice in what to spend leisure money on.

    And in terms of the type of music that makes it into the charts, there is less emphasis on writing albums now as singles, as singles obviously sell more these days. So albums aren't so good, they are just collections of songs rather than well thought out albums. Of course this is a generalisation and all genres outside of the mainstream, and some mainstream artists do care about making great albums.

    Wow, your views are startlingly similar to mine :yep:

    Don't know if you remember me, but we discussed shoegaze on another thread

    Btw, listened to some of 'Heaven or Las Vegas' by Cocteau Twins and thought it was excellent. Which albums would you recommend? I'm on holiday as of Friday, so will be listening lots.

    I don't understand why people think that bands owe them music, or refuse to pay it because a) 'can't afford (despite affording iphones et al) and b) 'all the money will go to corporate fat cats and not the artist'

    If these people truly cared about their music as much as they preached about it, they'd pay.
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Since all the songs in a commercial album can typically be found on YouTube, a blog, a music review site, etc., people now know what they're getting beforehand. There's no point in purchasing an entire album if there are only a few songs that are desired.
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by metalthrashin'mad)
    Because people think they are entitled to music for free (which is ridiculous) and come up with flimsy excuses as to why they won't buy music.

    On top of that the economy is no better, people can't afford luxury items like CD's/paid mp3s quite as much, and as there is a free, albeit illegal, alternative people will use that.

    Also music has more competition from other forms of entertainment than in previous decades. In the 60's/70s there weren't mobile phones, video games, computers, ipods, and all this kind of stuff. So people were more willing to spend their money on music as there was less choice in what to spend leisure money on.

    And in terms of the type of music that makes it into the charts, there is less emphasis on writing albums now as singles, as singles obviously sell more these days. So albums aren't so good, they are just collections of songs rather than well thought out albums. Of course this is a generalisation and all genres outside of the mainstream, and some mainstream artists do care about making great albums.
    With albums it might also be a case that people want to get more by doing less (or virtually nothing, via illegal downloading). Now, radio stations and websites broadcast/stream songs as well as singles, while the illegal/free 'option' comes with a relatively low chance of being punished (a la RIAA's mildly successful witch-hunt to randomly sue illegal downloaders). So why would anyone bother?

    People want to own songs they like without having to bother to sift through a whole 12-song album, AND potentially be $14.99 out of pocket if all songs aren't to their liking. What was deemed to be a normal practice of buying music is now a risk and a chore.
    • 8 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    1 word Piratebay....
    • 4 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    They might hear the songs on the radio or at a friends house and only like one or two of the songs. Why buy an album mainly of songs you don't like when for a fraction of the price, you could get the two that you do like. It saves money and space on your ipod or whatever.
    • 31 followers
    Online

    ReputationRep:
    I still remember when they didn't have mp3 players, I'd go and use my Walkman to record music off the radio because I couldn't afford to buy an album. When the music I like was being played by the radio, I quickly jumped, got my Walkman and recorded the song lol.

    ... the old days : )
    • 15 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    (Original post by benpearson1)
    Wow, your views are startlingly similar to mine :yep:

    Don't know if you remember me, but we discussed shoegaze on another thread

    Btw, listened to some of 'Heaven or Las Vegas' by Cocteau Twins and thought it was excellent. Which albums would you recommend? I'm on holiday as of Friday, so will be listening lots.

    I don't understand why people think that bands owe them music, or refuse to pay it because a) 'can't afford (despite affording iphones et al) and b) 'all the money will go to corporate fat cats and not the artist'

    If these people truly cared about their music as much as they preached about it, they'd pay.
    All their albums are good, victorialand is the second favourite of mine. I posted a huge list of bands in the chill music thread too, I'll go find it.


    (Original post by metalthrashin'mad)
    Please do, it's great to hear what people think of stuff you reccomend them.
    hmm I'll just write you a list of stuff I like:

    Lovesliescrushing
    destroyalldreamers
    presents for sally
    the veldt
    all natural lemon and lime flavors
    alison's halo
    daniel land and the modern painters
    school of seven bells
    alcest
    les discrets
    warpaint
    the angelic process
    ringo deathstarr
    jesus and mary chain
    amesoeurs (i cant spell)
    violet indiana
    panda riot
    malory
    a place to bury strangers
    aosbi seksu
    lush
    drop nineteens
    broken little sister
    my violent ego
    lsd and the search for god
    secret shine
    tearwave
    tears run rings
    astrobrite
    air formation
    ride
    chapterhouse
    curve
    airiel
    catherine wheel
    cranes
    the verve (first album)

    also give herbal movement and heroes for ghosts by the gathering a listen, as the influence is strong on those (and they are so beautiful)

    Sorry for the HUGE list.
    • Thread Starter
    • 0 followers
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    Many reasons of the album sales decline seem to center on illegal downloading. But, how much of the slump is actually the fault of illegal downloading?

    This article http://peninsulapress.com/2011/03/06...own-less-music seems to answer that. According to Nielsen SoundScan data, over 60% of all albums in 2010 were acquired by means other than straight purchasing. It's assumed that a sizeable portion of that 60+% is illegal downloads.

    However, who is to say that album sales 'lost' to illegal downloads would ever be regained by better anti-piracy measures and more effective marketing strategies by record labels anyway? Perhaps people download albums illegally because that way, they get a product for free. If not albums, then movies or software or whatever.
    • 1 follower
    Offline

    ReputationRep:
    'Piracy' shoulders an inordinate amount of the blame for the decrease in album sales.

    There is just as much evidence, even if certain overly vocal groups wish to deny it, to support the claim that piracy is beneficial.

    Sales would have declined substantially even if everyone was all 'moral' and refused to 'steal'. Does anyone really care if a bunch of ****ty pop artists are making slightly less money? The internet has been brilliant for real musicians, who would be working their asses off regardless.

Reply

Submit reply

Register

Thanks for posting! You just need to create an account in order to submit the post
  1. this can't be left blank
    that username has been taken, please choose another Forgotten your password?
  2. this can't be left blank
    this email is already registered. Forgotten your password?
  3. this can't be left blank

    6 characters or longer with both numbers and letters is safer

  4. this can't be left empty
    your full birthday is required
  1. By joining you agree to our Ts and Cs, privacy policy and site rules

  2. Slide to join now Processing…

Updated: July 31, 2012
New on TSR

Writing your personal statement

Our free PS builder tool makes it easy

Article updates
Useful resources

Articles:

TSR wiki music section

Quick link:

Unanswered music threads

Groups associated with this forum:

View associated groups
Reputation gems:
You get these gems as you gain rep from other members for making good contributions and giving helpful advice.