Music Industry

2015 Was the First Year Old Records Outsold New Ones

The record industry is like a shark. It has to keep moving forward lest it sink and drown. That means it needs to keep cranking out new hit records to go along with their back catalogue of old records. And for decades, that’s always been the case. Not in 2015, though. Take a look at this chart comparing American sales of new releases vs. catalogue records. And keep in mind that these figures take into account the 7 million-plus sales of Adele’s 25.


Record executives cannot be pleased with this. The question is, how is the music industry going to turn this around?  Read more about this growing crisis at MBW.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38321 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “2015 Was the First Year Old Records Outsold New Ones

  • But is this all that surprising? let’s go back to 1995. When they tracked sales then, all they could track was physical purchases in the store. Now, they convert streaming and downloads to “album equivalents”. So if I stream a 1995 song today, suddenly, I’m contributing to a “sale”. But 5 years ago, I might go find that 1995 CD in my collection, already bought, and play it. So no new sale is registered in that case.

  • Perhaps the old stuff is just better ? My 15 yr old amazes me in his listening, Bowie, Simon & Garfunkle, Billy Joel, SRV, on and on. Lots of great new music, tons and tons of older


Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.