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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Music Industry Sees Many Positives in 2011

“Thank you, Adele!” is what the music industry is exclaiming currently, according to two articles from USA Today. Not only is she (as well as a handful of other popular artists) positively influencing digital single and album sales, but also physical CDs.

According to Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard's midyear music industry report, “sales of recorded music are up for the first half of 2011.”¹ Overall music sales, which include music videos, albums, and singles from both physical and digital platforms, are up from 756 million this point last year to 821 million now (an 8.5% increase). And overall album sales (both physical and digital) are up 3.6%, from 213.6 million to 221.5 million.¹

Why the increases? One word: Adele. Her wildly popular new album 21 has helped fuel sales across the board. According to Keith Caulfield, Billboard's associate director of charts/retail, “she's not just a digital phenomenon… [Adele] appeals to older consumers, who will still buy full albums, and to younger people who may just buy a single track…She connects with people in a way where they feel she is a 'full-package artist' and you want to hear everything she sings."² Her album has sold 2.6 million copies, 62% of those being physical discs.

While Adele leads the pack, a handful of other artists have also helped both digital and physical sales soar: “Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which had the biggest single sales week with 1.108 million, is second with 1.5 million. Rounding out the top five so far are Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More (982,000), Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party (763,000) and Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans (686,000).”¹

So with digital sharing the limelight with CDs, what does the future look like for physical albums? “Physical CDs still make up two-thirds of all sales, so it's unlikely they'll disappear anytime soon,” assures USAToday.² "‘The reality is that digital formats have shown growth because they started from zero, but they haven't come close to replacing the physical totals of 10 years ago,’” says Paul Resnikoff, publisher of Los Angeles-based Digital Music News. He surmises that after a couple more years of growth, digital will flatten out.²

Either way, the country is embracing the album, both physical and digital. What trends have you noticed in your library? If you offer a digital music service, do patrons seem more interested in full digital albums or simply singles?

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