Hit Albums Are Going Extinct

Fewer Hit Albums, Fewer Minor Hits In 2009      03/06/10
Hit Albums Are Going Extinct


There's been a lot of talk over the last few years about how digital music is hurting record sales. 

While you can debate the pros and cons of digital music for musicians, one trend is clear: hit albums are going extinct. 

According to the latest numbers from Nielsen SoundScan:

  • There are fewer hit albums than there used to be. Only 12 albums released in 2009 sold more than a million units. This is down from 35 in 2006, 27 in 2007 and 22 in 2008. 
  • Few albums are minor hits. Only about 2,000 albums sold over 5,000 units in 2009. 

There a many explanations for the decline in album sales. The big music labels point to piracy. 

But the a la carte consumption that digital downloads encourage is probably a bigger factor. And the music industry has yet to figure out how to create hits via the Internet. 

Think there's hope for the dying album format - or do you think it's doomed? 

Leave a comment with your thoughts!

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James Lewin
Twitter @podcasting_news

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3 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
CI    Said...

A la carte download is indeed changing the game. Who wants to buy those dreaded filler song that fills half of an album ?

We reach the point where an artist can only release great stuff. I think this is good.

But this is bad for agents, they prefer to milk one fat cow instead of 10 skinny ones.

The world is changing, there are no shortage of musician. DAW revolution permits now to independant musician to release professional production at at low cost.

Who's complaining ? People who are living on the back of musicians. And musicians that expect to live like the 80ies rockstars. Maybe the musician profession is reverting back to the level in term of incomes of painters, sculptors and such artist.

04-Jun-10 08:55 PM


SDDGGHQ    Said...

As one of those independent artists selling music through digital download, I totally agree, we're putting it out there with the hope that people will like it and listen to the message, we're not looking for ridiculous wealth, or even mediocre wealth, just some artistic recognition. we dont write the songs for fun, we write them because we have things in our hearts and minds and they NEED to be communicated. check us out www.gogalleon.co.uk

06-Jun-10 05:35 AM


thejohn    Said...

I agree with everything said above. Good point Cl about " Who wants to buy those dreaded filler song that fills half of an album ?" and about milking the one fat cow. Totally true, and now that they (bigmusic)try to squeeze the last drop, it gets sour. The only bigmusic that is still making $$ is the Hiphop industry over here (the states). But that's not a big deal as the latest contributions from that genre do little to evolve music overall.

11-Jun-10 10:24 PM


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