Music's transition from physical to digital has been matched a major decline in the number of people who buy music. 10.5 million fewer people are buying music in the US and UK than their were in 2008. Some consumers have not made the transition to digital, others - whether via free streaming or p2p - prefer getting their music for free. Accompanying the sales decline are dwindling album sales. But, according to an analysis by industry consultant Mark Mulligan, "the abandonment of the album by engaged music fans is changing the face of the top 10".
According to Mulligan's research, top 10 albums sales dropped 68% in 2012 to 17.7 million compared to the peak year of 2000. But some genres held up better than others. Top 10 Rock, Pop, and Urban album sales 75% between 2000 and 2012 and country fell 66%. But music defined as Adult (Michael Bublé, Adele, Susan Boyle and Josh Groban) dropped just 30%.
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"Streaming and a la carte are empowering the music aficionados to deep dive, if not into the long tail, then certainly into the full torso of music, bypassing the short head of the top 10," ays Mulligan. "Leaving the top 10 as the pulse of the dwindling mainstream."