Friday, January 18, 2013

'bum steer?


Critical commentators will tell you that the album is dead and the physical format you’re familiar with buying it on is even more of a rotting corpse. Yet still they’re made and still they’re bought. Not in the quantities of old and certainly not in the same places but enough to make the eulogy seem somewhat premature.
In 2012 UK music fans bought 100.5 million albums, not all of which were made by Adele, Emeli, Ed or Mumford – but a lot were. Over two thirds (69.1%) of the albums sold were on the CD format but the decline continues – total album sales slumped by over 10% and CD albums by almost 20%. The writing’s on the wall but the wall still stands if that’s not twisting the analogy way too far.

Growth continues in singles, in digital and even more so in streaming – there were 3.7 billion audio tracks streamed last year, equivalent to 140 per household. The most popular streamed songs were all pop and include one I don’t think I’ve ever heard - Titanium by David Guetta ft Sia – but I’m hardly the target market and I don’t feel that I’m missing out.

The album is sick (and not in the current usage of that word), it may be dying but it’s not dead yet. There’s a longer argument to be had about the concept as a whole but it’s a blog that I continue to struggle to write. Watch this space.

ALBUMS: UK MARKET VOLUMES BY FORMAT 2008 - 2012

Format
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2012 %
2012 +/-
CD
123.0m
112.5m
98.5m
86.2m
69.4m
69.1%
-19.5%
LP
0.209m
0.219m
0.234m
0.337m
0.389m
0.4%
+15.3%
Digital
10.3m
16.1m
21.0m
26.6m
30.5m
30.4%
+14.8%
Other*
0.154m
0.146m
0.104m
0.052m
0.147m
0.1%
+158.5%
TOTAL
133.6m
128.9m
119.9m
113.2m
100.5m
100.0%
-11.2%

* 'Other' includes Cassette, MiniDisc, DVD Audio, DVD Video, DMD and 7" box set albums.

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