Quick: Name an album released in 2021 that will go down in history as an all-time classic. Other than Adele’s 30 (if for nothing other than being an Adele record), I can’t think of many. Yes, there were plenty of commercially successful albums, but nothing on the level of an Achtung Baby, American Idiot, or Blood Sugar Sex Magick, blockbuster records that we will be listening to for decades to come.
I could be wrong–maybe 2021’s releases need to marinate in our consciousness a little longer–but last year was just barely okay when it comes to great new music. But don’t take my word for it. Take a look at this new stat out of the US.
According to year-end stats out of America, 82.1% of the market consisted of catalogue released (i.e. material more than 18 months old). That means current records–think Drake, Olivia Rodrigo, Morgan Wallen, Doja Cat, and that cohort–only accounted for 17.9% of US music consumption during the last six months of the year.
If you look at sales plus streams–that’s known as “total consumption”–current music consumption dropped by 37.4%. People just weren’t digging the new stuff, opting instead to listen to older music.
Another fact: 89% of American Baby Boomers are now into streaming music. Remember when that generation couldn’t grasp the concept and vowed to continue buying music?
If you want to get deep into the weeds on how these numbers were determined (along with some cool charts), go here.