By Jay Syrmopoulos on January 22, 2016
For the first time in music history “catalogue album sales” – defined as any release over 18 months old, outsold current releases by 4.3 million, according to data compiled by Nielsen. To give some perspective, only a decade ago current music sales dominated catalogue music by over 150 million albums.
The new data comes from a 2015 year-end report by Nielsen, the data company that operates SoundScan music sales statistics that in turn informs the Billboard charts.
According to a report by VICE:
However, this data pertains solely to albums—either physical or digital—and does not include streaming. So, whether the Nielsen report shows a real declining sales trend for new artists, or merely that we’ve shifted away from albums entirely (the argument that young people are more inclined to stream rather than purchase music seems plausible), is shocking, though perhaps not entirely unexpected.
A trend towards pirated digital music downloads from torrents seems like a certain contributing factor in less new music being sold.
Additionally, studies have shown repetitive choruses in music to be more popular, indicating a possible precipitating factor in the perhaps intentional dumbing down of musical content by the industry.
“Despite the many factors that go into creating a hit song, we identify repetition of the chorus as one that has important real-world implications,” Professor Andrea Ordanini of Bocconi University, author of one of the studies, said.
The researchers analyzed songs going back to the 1950s, including 1,029 that reached number one and 1,451 that never climbed above 90. The chorus was repeated between one and 16 times in the songs. They found that for each additional repeat, a song’s likelihood of making it to number one increased by 14.5 per cent. But it decreased by 6.1 per cent with each additional year in the age of the main performer, according to the Telegraph.
Providing even further insight in an interview with AllHipHop.com legendary hip-hop artist Darryl McDaniels, more commonly known as DMC of the pioneering group Run-DMC, sums up the conundrum faced by artists. In reference to the expressive art form of hip-hop vs. the multi-billion dollar pop money machine hip-hop he states:
“It was inevitable that Hip Hop became commercialized but along the way our power got taken away,” he says in the story. “Now you got the same 12 records on radio being played over and over again.”
“We wanted to change the world, taking responsibility for our actions,” he said. “Now everything that’s negative in stupid ass America is celebrated.”
If you believe the music market is driven by consumer demand, you would be sadly mistaken as it’s the ruling class taste-makers that prepackage and deliver the content they have decided is acceptable. The ability of the elites to condition the masses through music should never be underestimated.
Jay Syrmopoulos is a political analyst, free thinker, researcher, and ardent opponent of authoritarianism. He is currently a graduate student at University of Denver pursuing a masters in Global Affairs. Jay’s work has been published on Ben Swann’s Truth in Media, Truth-Out, Raw Story, MintPress News, as well as many other sites. You can follow him on Twitter @sirmetropolis, on Facebook at Sir Metropolis and now on tsu.
Photo by Tomasz Sienicki courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
2015 marked the first time in history that current music releases were outsold by "catalogue album sales"—a term that refers to any release that is at least 18 months old. To put this in context, just ten years ago current music sales outpaced catalogue music by over 150 million albums.
That information, reported by Music Business Worldwide, comes from a year-end report by Nielsen, the data company most famous for their SoundScan music-sales statistics that inform the Billboard charts. However, this data pertains solely to albums—either physical or digital—and does not include streaming. So, whether the Nielsen report shows a real declining sales trend for new artists, or merely that we've shifted away from albums entirely (the argument that young people are more inclined to stream rather than purchase music seems plausible), is shocking, though perhaps not entirely unexpected.
Image courtesy of Nielsen
Old music is a bit of an offensive term, especially to someone over fifty, but less than 60. Ha, ha.
I think it should be called the "New Classical Music".
Go on youtube and read the comments on 'classic' music vids by kids (12-onwards) with brains - they think millennial culture (music and fashion) sucks - the backlash against the apathetic and narcissistic I-generation has arrived.
Think about it, no new youth tribe movement has emerged post 9/11 - just a cut and paste rehash of what has come before (...and even then they embrace the crap that was deemed lame the first time around) - that is terrifying in itself.
When music used to be music, that's what I'm buying too.
“Old” Music Is Outselling New Releases
Maybe because older people aren't as adept at downloading shit for free.
Beg to differ on that, have friends in their 50's & 60's who regularly use torrents - and if they like what they find they go and buy it.
There's always exceptions to every rule.