Catalogs crowd out currents grabbing 73% of US market as CD sales also grow
If the resurgence in vinyl was not enough to convince you that in music everything old is eventually new again, new sales figures for CDs and music consumption stats should convince you.
US CD album sales increased 1.1% to 40.59 million albums sold in 2021. That’s the first yearly gain in CD sales since 2004 according to MRC data.
That’s far from a total comeback, but those numbers are expected increase again in 2022 as artists, labels and fans all embrace CDs as an alternative physical format to impossible to press vinyl.
New music has a catalog problem
Consumption (streaming + sales) of catalog music is so strong that many are worried that its crowding out new releases.
Catalog music is defined as more than 18 months after its release.
According to MBW’s calculations using MRC data, catalog recordings accounted for a whopping 73% of total recorded US music consumption in the second half of 2021.
In 2020 catalog music was 66.4% of total consumption.
In relative terms, the total consumption of current music actually fell 37.4% in the second half of 2021 compared to the same period of 2020.
Bruce Houghton is Founder and Editor of Hypebot and MusicThinkTank and serves as a Senior Advisor to Bandsintown which acquired both publications in 2019. He is the Founder and President of the Skyline Artists Agency and a professor for the Berklee College Of Music.