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98.9% Of All Tracks Sell Less Than 1000 Copies and Other Music Industry Fun Facts

scared(UPDATED) 98.9% of all digital music tracks in existence in 2011 have sold fewer than 1000 copies.  That's 7,931,408 out of 8,020,660 songs. This and other "fun" music industry facts from a new book by Harvard Business School Professor Anita Elberse's new book Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment . Here are more (Aspiring artists, brace yourself...) :

  • 73.9% of all digital music tracks sold fewer than 10 copies in 2011
  • 97.1% of all albums available sold fewer than 1,000 copies in 2011
    58.4% of all albums in existence sold fewer than 100 copies in 2011 - 513,146 out of 878,369
  • 400 albums released in 2011 accounted for 35% of all music sales
  • 514 songs out of 8,020,660 available in 2011 accounted for 40% of sales

And all of this was before Spotify and streaming music took off.

Forget the 80/20 Rule. Music Is 80/1

According to Eleberse's reading of the stats:

"For music albums, it is close to an 80/1 rule – if we can speak about a rule at all. Even if we take a conservative estimate of what would be on offer in a bricks-and-mortar store at any given point in time, [predictions] that long-tail sales will rival those in the head are far off

Read more in: Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment

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