Can Record Labels Get Better at Selling Albums as CD Sales Fall?

The answer seems to be “maybe.”  And the question itself is of vital importance to the future of the recorded music industry.  Check out this article from Billboard.

The record business needs to succeed at selling bundles of tracks in the “a la carte” era. It needs to nimbly adjust to consumer demand. It needs to work with digital services to entice customers to buy a bundle of tracks instead of individual tracks. And, for the sake of its survival, it needs consumers to purchase music–regardless of the format.

An analysis of Nielsen SoundScan data offers evidence that labels are figuring out the album format in the iTunes era. From 2008 to 2011, digital albums have represented an increasing share of all digital purchases in the U.S. From the week ending November 13, 2008 to the corresponding weeks in 2009, 2010 and 2011, digital albums have represented 5.7 percent, 6.1 percent, 6.8 percent and 7.3 percent of total digital purchases. The remainder has been purchases of individual tracks.

In other words, over the past four years consumers have been more prone to buy albums than single tracks.

Read the entire article here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

2 thoughts on “Can Record Labels Get Better at Selling Albums as CD Sales Fall?

  • December 8, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    One huge leap forward iTunes could do, especially now with the iCloud function storing your previous purchase, is allow people that purchase an individual track (most likely the first single off the album) to get the amount they spent credited back against the purchase of the full album. I always feel like I'm being forced to pay for stuff I already own when I legitimately purchased the individual track, and then have to pay for it again as part of the album bundle.

    Surely, they can fix this!

  • December 9, 2011 at 2:13 am

    They already do this. If you buy a single track from iTunes, there's a 'complete this album' (or something similar) option that allows you to purchase the remainder of the tracks.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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