Vinyl, Cassettes & Retail

Can Christmas Cure Music’s YTD Sales Slump?

image from The pressure is on inside every major label, as radio promotion departments scramble to find a few major hit singles to help reverse yet another year to date sales slump. With only 11 shopping weeks remaining in 2010, the recorded music industry overall is down 13.6% from last year with both digital and physical sales factored in.

For country music (down 12.5%), that means that in the next 11 weeks, they need to sell 18.377 million more units or 1.67 million per week. "That’s a tall order," reports Music Row, "considering that this week we sold a total of only 718k."

Christmas traditionally provides a big sales bump, but this year the bump that music needs looks more like a mountain.

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  1. A customer perspective: The holiday gift-giving season might not provide the usual lift this year.
    Digital music files don’t really make functional presents; there’s no common, easy way for the giver to pick a specific title. A gift card for digital music files is about as thoughtless a choice as any other gift card.
    At this point even most Grandparents have clued in to the possibility that many kids don’t want CDs any more. Most adults have to consider the possibility that their grownup friends have moved on beyond CDs. To paraphrase classical critic Norman Lebrecht, the century-long period when a physical music album would be a reliably-welcomed gift has come to an end.
    What’s left of CD retail is thinning rapidly. Best Buy reconfigured stores to whack CD space; the last one I was in had cut CD space by a guesstimated 60%, and the remaining CDs had been moved out of that valuable space in the center of the store. (See the Hypebot post this week on trying to buy a specific title at Best Buy.) The last Barnes & Noble I was in, the CD bins were, at best, half full.

  2. NO. It can’t and it won’t.
    Look for 20 – 40% layoffs at UMG and SONY this December… Happy Holidays!

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