Frampton Is Dead: Album Sales Dip To Lowest Level In The States
FANS of albums, prepare to boo-hoo as reports state that album sales in That America have dipped to the lowest levels since records began. We should point out we don’t mean ‘long playing records’, but rather, ‘people making a note of how many albums had been sold, which they started doing in 1991’.
‘Since records began’ is much catchier.
Nielsen SoundScan first began logging music sales back in the 90s because, up to that point, no-one had to worry about it because everyone was constantly buying as many records as humanly possible, all the time, constantly. However, the mid-80s was the beginnings of the great piracy craze, thanks to people selling blank tapes.
Since then, people burned CD compilations (they felt very fancy for a period) and then, WHAMMO! Napster happened and everyone could suddenly get things for free.
A pivotal moment happened when the recording industry decided to bury Napster, rather than work with them to fashion a new business model. The music industry killed Napster and suddenly, torrents cropped up and music bigwigs played Whac-A-Mole, unsuccessfully ever since.
So, from the week ending Sunday 12 January, a piddling 4.25m units (CD and vinyl) were sold across the US. Frampton Comes Alive probably sold that in the first minute of sales back in the 70s.
Physical album sales have been in steady decline since 2010, thanks to downloads overtaking them. The only album that bucked the trend was Adele’s ’21’, which picked things up for the beleaguered industry. No matter, middle aged men and women mourned the passing of the record, cooing about not being able to roll a joint on an MP3.
You can roll a joint on your table while listening to MP3s, so it is weird that older people would constantly bring that up.
Worse still though, is that the data reckons that all formats of albums are selling less well than before. People aren’t even downloading music. And why would they? The myriad of torrents, podcasts, embedded YouTube videos and Soundcloud clips… it almost makes you wonder how people managed, carting all that physical data around.
Still, the good news is, is that there will always been vinyl addicts and people who like taking a punt on £5 CDs in Fopp, so the death of the album is rather premature. Fact is, music isn’t going anywhere – maybe those who got rich from it in the 60s and 70s are the only ones looking at a death penalty?