While doing some reading over the weekend, I can across some interesting statistics from Nielsen, the people who keep track of music sales. They offer some insight into what’s really happened in the American music market.
In 2016, 8.7 million music tracks were sold. Of those, 96% sold fewer than 100 copies. A full 40%–that’s 3.5 million–were purchased just once. On a related note, I’ve read that up to 20% of the songs on Spotify haven’t been played at all. Not once. (There’s a site called Forgotify that mines all those unheard songs. You should give it a try.)
These stats have nothing to do with the quality of the music. It’s just there’s too damn much of it. Near infinite choice is great, but who has the time to go through everything? And how can musicians ever hope to break through?
If you can answer that second question, you have wisdom beyond the realm of the human race.