Making Sense Out Of Digital Music Sales Numbers
from the picking-through-for-meaning dept
Now that we've jumped into 2007, we're going to be seeing plenty of stories summarizing how different products or industries did in 2006, and it seems that the music industry is the first one out the door. Wasting no time at all, Nielsen SoundScan released some data on music sales, which pretty much states the obvious. Traditional album sales were down, but digital download purchases were way up. That's all in unit numbers, not dollar amounts, so it gets tricky to mix and match -- but it's barely worthwhile to bother, honestly. The trends are pretty clear, and the interesting results don't come in the gradual shift from one format to the other, but when the more creative business models start showing up. The fact that older music performed better (trend-wise) than new music could be a function of a variety of different things, from the overall quality of new music to the simple fact that the rise in the use of infinite digital shelves simply makes it all much more available (and searchable). However, what might be even more interesting is the news that digital music buyers are really good for the overall music industry (not just the recording industry). This shouldn't be a surprise, but considering that the recording industry likes to paint online music listeners as a bunch of thieves who want everything for free, it's nice to hear that many are actually spending more on music, listening to more music (even exploring new genres), going to more concerts and discussing music more with other people. If you're in the music business and that doesn't scream out opportunity, rather than the threat so many have made it out to be, then you're in the wrong business.