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Only 2% of the albums released in '09 sell more than 5.000 copies
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duvalle
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18th May 2010
Old 18th May 2010
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Unhappy Only 2% of the albums released in '09 sell more than 5.000 copies

2% of the 98,000 albums released in '09 account for 91% of all sales:

Quote:
On that last question, Nielsen Soundscan offered some sobering stats. A total of 98,000 albums were released in 2009, and just a handful crossed the million-mark.
Perhaps more sobering, just 2.1 percent managed to cross the 5,000-mark, a group that made up 91 percent of total sales. Suddenly, fresh artists are staring at a near-zero chance of selling even modest amounts, part of a continued drizzle on DIY optimism.
The Latest Startling Stats Out of NARM... - Digital Music News

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18th May 2010
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I presume the number or albums being released also has skyrocketed over the last decade. I don't think you can draw any conclusions about piracy, lack of consumer interest etc. To release an album has become so cheap that lots of musicians can afford it without worrying about sales figures.
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18th May 2010
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that's a lot of Susan Boyle!
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18th May 2010
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That's what happens when you cling to an old business model and everyone else has moved on. I dont see how this is alarming. Innovators will bring the money in, and they probably won't do it via record sales.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subby33 View Post
That's what happens when you cling to an old business model and everyone else has moved on. I dont see how this is alarming. Innovators will bring the money in, and they probably won't do it via record sales.
We all have to accept what we can't change, but to me, music is about selling music, not t-shirts, various glittering artifacts or anything else for that matter. Furthermore, I like the album format, the idea of thinking beyond single tracks.

So, I will allow myself to be saddened by the dropping album sales, while trying to keep up to date with alternative strategies.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoVi View Post
I presume the number or albums being released also has skyrocketed over the last decade. I don't think you can draw any conclusions about piracy, lack of consumer interest etc. To release an album has become so cheap that lots of musicians can afford it without worrying about sales figures.
good point ...

i just found this:
(Bemuso.com - The money sponge, record label problems, success rate, low profits and high costs)

Quote:
At the Future of Music Coalition conference Jim Cooperman of BMG claimed that a major label act has to sell 2 million albums to break even. He also gave figures for 2002:

* 37,000 albums released;
* 257 gold (500,000+ USA sales);
* 121 platinum (1,000,000+ USA sales);
* 134 multi-platinum (2,000,000+ USA sales);

So the situation is much the same as 1999, except that (according to Cooperman) only 0.2% of all releases break even.
And:

Quote:
“Typically, less than 15% of all sound recordings released by major record companies will even make back their costs. Far fewer return profit. Here are some revealing facts to demonstrate what I’m talking about. There were 38,857 albums released last year [1999], 7,000 from the majors and 31, 857 from independents. Out of the total releases, only 233 sold over 250,000 units. Only 437 sold over 100,000 units. That’s 1% of the time for the total recording industry that an album even returns any significant sales, much less profit.”
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18th May 2010
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Maybe they should raise the price of CDs to make up for it

I have about 50 CDs I would like to buy BUT I cant afford them.

AND TO BE VERY CLEAR........

I DO NOT STEAL MUSIC. I DO WITHOUT !!!!!!!!!!!

I actually broke out my old tapes that sound like shit instead of upgrading my record collection to CD like I want to....

I hope all record companies go out of business.

(putting on flame suit)
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duvalle View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by NoVi
I presume the number or albums being released also has skyrocketed over the last decade. I don't think you can draw any conclusions about piracy, lack of consumer interest etc. To release an album has become so cheap that lots of musicians can afford it without worrying about sales figures.
good point ...

i just found this:
(Bemuso.com - The money sponge, record label problems, success rate, low profits and high costs)

Quote:
At the Future of Music Coalition conference Jim Cooperman of BMG claimed that a major label act has to sell 2 million albums to break even. He also gave figures for 2002:

* 37,000 albums released;
* 257 gold (500,000+ USA sales);
* 121 platinum (1,000,000+ USA sales);
* 134 multi-platinum (2,000,000+ USA sales);So the situation is much the same as 1999, except that (according to Cooperman) only 0.2% of all releases break even.
And:

Quote:
“Typically, less than 15% of all sound recordings released by major record companies will even make back their costs. Far fewer return profit. Here are some revealing facts to demonstrate what I’m talking about. There were 38,857 albums released last year [1999], 7,000 from the majors and 31, 857 from independents. Out of the total releases, only 233 sold over 250,000 units. Only 437 sold over 100,000 units. That’s 1% of the time for the total recording industry that an album even returns any significant sales, much less profit.”
Those last figures are especially telling. In 1999, unauthorized mp3 copying was a small slice of what it is today, since the general public was still largely ignorant of the format and its use, widespread broadband was a few years away.

There is also -- it must be said -- the nature of small-amount cash exchanges businesses. While we'd like to think everyone crosses all the t's, dots the i's and reports all his income and pays all his taxes... let's be real. I suspect a lot of direct sales of CDs and merch at shows is, let's say, under-reported.

And then there is the nature of the mainstream music business, some or many elements of which would get away with murder if and when they could. Lots of funny business with numbers over the years in the biz.
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18th May 2010
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CD sales are rapidly becoming the wrong indicator of music consumption anyway. The generation coming up now has much less of a tendency to want to own a physical product or even a file on a drive. Streaming is really taking over. My wife is a consultant for the industry and just analyzed a whole heap of market data on a project for one of the supermajors, and the stats were really interesting.

It's very hard for me, who has made the long journey through vinyl, 8-tracks, cassettes, CDs and iPods (and now back to vinyl, my one true love) to comprehend not owning at least a digital file, let alone something I can touch, but the Pandora / Spotify model is really becoming the dominant mode.

How non-superstar musicians are going to make a living is beyond me, since the revenue streams to artists from those services are pretty thin. And with housing costs and gas costs so high, touring musicians (especially small venue acts) are lucky to break even.

Again, why I get back to my theory on the best stimulus plan for the country. Channel a few hundred million dollars, WPA-style, to struggling, non-popstar, touring musicians. This has compounding benefits for society since 1) it will infuse the country with more varied and interesting music, 2) it will get people out to bars and clubs to spend money, and 3) since musicians are generally incapable of saving money, the economic boost to drug-rehab clinics, motorcycle dealerships, boutique guitar shops, bail bondsmen, etc. will be the tide that lifts all boats.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalhotdog View Post

Again, why I get back to my theory on the best stimulus plan for the country. Channel a few hundred million dollars, WPA-style, to struggling, non-popstar, touring musicians. This has compounding benefits for society since 1) it will infuse the country with more varied and interesting music, 2) it will get people out to bars and clubs to spend money, and 3) since musicians are generally incapable of saving money, the economic boost to drug-rehab clinics, motorcycle dealerships, boutique guitar shops, bail bondsmen, etc. will be the tide that lifts all boats.
That is absolutely brilliant!

Can I vote for you for public office?
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duvalle View Post
Suddenly, fresh artists are staring at a near-zero chance of selling even modest amounts
So you're telling me there's a chance. YEAH!
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18th May 2010
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I would be ecstatic if I sold 1,000 cd's of my songs.

No, I couldn't make a living that way. So what? 1,000 people thought my music was worth buying. I'd be on Cloud Nine.
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I would be thrilled if 5,000 people STOLE my music! That would be amazing. The idea of albums I think is sadly long long gone. When we released our album we just had to get a cd pressed and did all of the artwork spent all the time and money blah blah, then we realized: who the hell uses cds anyway?? The last place a cd might be used would be in a car, and thats only the older cars that don't have the AUX in for an ipod.

I don't really know anyone that buys music anymore, but I do know that there has to be quite an incentive just to get someone to take the time to "steal" the music these days. And after the music is stolen its quite an honor if its allotted some hard drive space for more than a few weeks. Unless its forgotten about of course.
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18th May 2010
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Yeah, I generally look to the digital services for sales revenue (small as it is) these days and consider CD's and vinyl's as fodder for the merch table at gigs or for promotional mailings. Merch tables have the highest profit margin anyway.
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18th May 2010
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If one examines today's releases, 2% is rather generous.
What that tells me is people don't buy crap.

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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiny Beast View Post
I would be ecstatic if I sold 1,000 cd's of my songs.

No, I couldn't make a living that way. So what? 1,000 people thought my music was worth buying. I'd be on Cloud Nine.
I once had 2200 people DL one of my tunes in one day. (For free, to be sure. Someone was dumb enough to put my tune up on the front page of the old Mp3.com as the 'song of the day.' It pulled around 4400 DLs over three days, IIRC.)

The ecstasy fades.

You have to be into music for the right reasons. If you're in it for money, fame and and/ego stroking... unless you've got one trajectory in hundreds of millions, sooner or later, the let down takes hold. You have to love music for the right reasons to keep going at that point.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams View Post
If one examines today's releases, 2% is rather generous.
What that tells me is people don't buy crap.

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I am certainly not interested in more than 2% of 09s releases. Rather 0.2%
Its a secret but I'll whisper it anyways:
GOOD MUSIC MAY SELL BETTER

Sorry if i insulted somebody but i feel the musical quality is really going down the drain. Maybe I'm just becoming old though
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wow, that's not good
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shiny Beast View Post
I would be ecstatic if I sold 1,000 cd's of my songs.

No, I couldn't make a living that way. So what? 1,000 people thought my music was worth buying. I'd be on Cloud Nine.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tropicalhotdog View Post
Yeah, I generally look to the digital services for sales revenue (small as it is) these days and consider CD's and vinyl's as fodder for the merch table at gigs or for promotional mailings. Merch tables have the highest profit margin anyway.
I should say that a couple of Beefheart fans should be glad to get their GFs to listen...

All we need is batchainpuller in here and we'd have some kind of trifecta.

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Call me crazy but the lack of sales has nothing to do with any business model, no matter how dated it may be. The subject goes far deeper into the psyche of the human nature IMO. We`ve become a society that no longer thinks. We don`t even know what we like, we just like what we know and what most of society is subjected to is this nicely packaged, clean and easy on the eyes and ears (think Disney) entertainment. This is what sells. And the truth is, people aren`t even buying this, they are grabbing it wherever they can for FREE! This is yet another issue in society... the fact that there is no respect for the creative arts. Artists have always struggled but today, that whole concept of being authentic and being the real deal no longer is respected. The whole game has changed and the source is not a business model but an attitude.... a mental attitude.

Most of us are working on indie stuff and no matter how great and innovative it is, bands don`t have a chance getting a piece of the pie. Most of us GearSlutz are chasing our tails... here we are talking about getting the best sound and which piece is better for this and that but none of it matters. Most are recording stuff that will not be heard than more than a dozen folks or so. Stop buying gear. Stop falling for the manufacturers ads that say you need this or that. Its all related.

Large corporate entities dictate what most of the public "thinks" they want. Its been in the making for so long, we are no longer aware of it. Its the reason why most superstars are young, easy on the eyes and all sound the same. Most music is nothing but neatly packaged chicken thats already been cleaned for you.

I`m out, I gotta answer the door for FED EX who is delivering that new stand alone convertor I just ordered.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
I should say that a couple of Beefheart fans should be glad to get their GFs to listen...
That would be great... as long as she didn't tell my wife.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fabi View Post
GOOD MUSIC MAY SELL BETTER
i wish that was true ... but "computer says no"!
;-)

anyway, here is another great read about the business:
Gizmodo: Record labels change or die
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I should say that a couple of Beefheart fans should be glad to get their GFs to listen...
Except that my GFs never really liked my band! Until we stopped touring we were actually selling 10-15 thousand units per release. But that's still not enough to pay the rent, unless you're touring all the time and subletting the apt. And then if you're touring you're making gig and merch $ to supplement the royalties anyway.

That's why it got to the point at which all bands were worried about was getting a huge advance. The chances were just so damn small that the label would ever recoup and be able to start to channel revenue to the band, that it made more sense for the band to milk the front end. It was a ridiculous system where each side was just trying to rip off the other. Everyone lost. Bands made no money; labels got wary of signing anyone who didn't seem like an instant hit, accounting for the waves of dreck that got released; labels collapsed; musicians, fans, and industry people all got jaded.

At least now with decent home recording technology now widely available to young musicians and the ease of self distribution through the intertubes, there is a whole lot of freaky, interesting and cutting edge stuff floating around out there. It's just hard to find and doesn't really make any money for the artist.
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18th May 2010
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Profits are from live gigs anymore.
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18th May 2010
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I think that maybe the CD/album format has had its day. It's either mp3's or DVD. More money there.
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18th May 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ernest Buckley View Post
Most of us are working on indie stuff and no matter how great and innovative it is, bands don`t have a chance getting a piece of the pie. Most of us GearSlutz are chasing our tails... here we are talking about getting the best sound and which piece is better for this and that but none of it matters. Most are recording stuff that will not be heard than more than a dozen folks or so.... Most music is nothing but neatly packaged chicken thats already been cleaned for you.
But that's why it's so important to keep focusing on what sounds good, what's innovative, what's interesting, what's artistic. It's the people who are in it for love, not money, that will create the next thing that breaks the dam. Then of course that thing will be seen as potentially profitable and ultimately have it's soul sucked out of it by those who are able to milk it, replicate it, turn it into a parody of what it once was. Until something new arises and the cycle starts again. I mean, you can buy Dead Kennedy T-shirts in these horrific chain stores for overpriced "street-cred" clothing for teens in suburban malls now (much to the deep chagrin of Biafra).
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18th May 2010
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2% is very generous. That's a 50/1 odds, pretty good if I say. If you put out one CD a week, you should have one hit that percentage per year.

Those are better odds than my local Indian Casino...

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18th May 2010
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Quote:
But that's why it's so important to keep focusing on what sounds good, what's innovative, what's interesting, what's artistic. It's the people who are in it for love, not money, that will create the next thing that breaks the dam.
Exactly! Music was "corporate" when the Sex Pistols and CBGB happened. Music was "corporate" when Nirvana blew the doors off.

No matter how much we think that good art should earn someone a living, it usually doesn't happen. It was ever thus.
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So that's where the phrase, "starving artist" came from?
When I was in college, I heard the phrase 'Too many mixers, not enough fixers".

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