Even Adele can't save the legacy music industry... Old music is outselling new music for the first time ever, according to Nielsen. Some of its has to do with millennials preferring to consume music via streaming or not to pay for it at all. But how bright is the future of any industry that generates more revenue from old products instead of new ones?
Despite the massive success of Adele's album 25, which sold a whopping 7.4 million copies in only six weeks, 2015 marked the first time in U.S. history that new releases were outsold by catalogue albums. Seems like everyone's been feeling extra nostalgic lately.
The term "catalogue" refers to albums released more than 18 months ago. According to Nielsen's annual year end music report, catalogue albums outsold current releases by 4.3 million copies, something never before seen in the industry. Just 10 years ago, current music sales outpaced catalogue music by over 150 million albums. Keep in mind that these stats don't include album streams, but regardless, it's a significant turning point.
Digital sales of current albums still maintained a slight lead, but when it came to physical releases, more people opted for the oldies. And when it comes to individual tracks, not whole albums, catalogue outsold current in digital as well.
Perhaps it came to be due to the so-called vinyl revival.
In recent years, the sales of vinyl records have significantly increased as young music lovers are discovering the physical LP. In the first half of 2015 alone, vinyl sales increased by 52%. If they're building a physical collection, it stands to reason that people would want to buy a copy of their favourite album on vinyl and not necessarily the newest release. It seems plausible, judging by the fact that, according to the same Nielson report, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon sold 50,000 records this past year, the third highest selling album on vinyl.
Or, maybe it's a sign that a growing number of people are choosing to stream newly released digital albums rather than purchasing them. With the increasing popularity of platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music, consumers now have instant access to all the newest music for roughly $10 a month. And they're not limited by shelf space or budget.
Whether or not digital sales of catalog albums will end up surpassing current releases is still yet to be seen, but based on the current increase in catalogue sales it's definitely a possibility. It seems as though artists are starting to take notice of the trend, too, judging by, for instance, Grimes' recent decision to release her back-catalogue on vinyl following her huge breakout, the labels, too, judging by Record Store Day's annual parade of reissues.
via Celebrity Access