U.S. Album Sales Slightly Positive for 2004

Nielsen SoundScan reported that, as of last Sunday, unit sales reached 665.5 million for 2004. That represents a modest 1.4% increase over the same period 2003. The industry has one more week of sales left before getting a final tally for the year, the WSJ reported.

This increase reflects, more than  anything the industry has done, a generally improving economy, along with a few breakout CDs. Much of the industry, however, remains mird in a creative drought of sorts.

Further, the music industry is  not competing well with other digital entertainment media. A survey by the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society (reported yesterday in the NYT) noted how the internet was cutting Into TV viewing.

 

Wsj_music_12312004_192738_2

While any sales increase is welcome, the final number will ultimately be a dissapointment after the fast start to the year. The first half of 2004 saw album sales up 8% gains from the prior year. 

The WSJ noted that "Music companies have tried to capitalize on the DVD boom, although for the moment, they can’t keep pace with movie and television-program sales. Not one of the top 40-selling DVD titles, according to Nielsen VideoScan, is a music title."

Once again, we see a floundering industry unable to make positive moves in the right direction. Oh well, at least the bleeding has stopped. 

.
Source:

Sales of U.S. Music Albums Spin Slightly Faster
Ethan Smith
The Wall Street Journal, December 31, 2004; Page A8
http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB110445255559113530,00.html

Internet Use Said to Cut Into TV Viewing and Socializing
John Markoff
NYT December 30, 2004
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/30/technology/30internet.html

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A Different Kind of Top 10 Music List For 2004

It’s year’s end, and that means list time.

The annoying thing about the ubiquitous year end list — best Books, best Movies, best Albums — is that they tend to be compiled by people who read, watch or listen to stuff for a living.

Most of the listed items are nanoseconds old. And while that’s de rigueur for someone who does that professionally, it has little correlation to the lives the rest of us lead. Gotta job, family, obligations? Then you probably don’t get to listen to hundreds of new releases each year. Good luck then, making an intelligent top 10 list.

Movies? The days of waiting on line opening night are long since gone for this old man. A majority of the films I ended up renting, buying or pay-per-viewing this year were not 2004 releases. Wanna make a helpful list for me? Tell me the best stuff on HBO next weekend; Knowing 2004′s most critically acclaimed Eastern European documentaries is of little use for most people.

OK, rant over. Here’s a different kind of top 10 list; these favorite CDs are what actually got listened to in 2004. While a few of these came out this year, that wasn’t a requirement. These are what actually spent the most time this year on the iPod or in the CD player of a person with a job and an ever decreasing amount of spare time.

The task was made infinitely easier by iTunes, which shows me the chronological order of when CDs were ripped, and purchases made via ITMS, or downloads via a P2P service, as well as the number of plays each song got. Incidentally, the correlation between my downloaded P2P tunes and subsequent CD purchases is extremely high; I’ll bet others have had similar experiences. Don’t expect an RIAA study looking into that phenomenon anytime soon . . .

Anyway, on to the top 10 list:.

~ ~ ~

Roman Candle  Says Pop

Roman Candle’s debut is a joyful assortment of finely crafted pop
tunes. If FM Radio didn’t suck, this is the sort of music you would be
hearing on it right now. Finely crafted lyrics mated to delightful
melodies delivered by a tight power pop five-some in a surprisingly
slick production. Like nearly all the discs on this list, this one is
really good from start to finish.

Why didn’t you ever hear of these guys? Roman Candle hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and signed with an independent label. No payola, no Clearchannel — and no radio play.

Roman Candle   Says Pop
(2002)

Bonus:  I discovered Roman Candle through BBC 2’s Bob Harris Check him out.

~ ~ ~

 

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