Down down down: How low can album sales go?

Billboard reports that album sales are continuing to slide into oblivian:

Track Equivalent Albums (TEAs) were 13.1% lower in May 2009 versus May 2008. That was a reversal from the relatively successful month of April in which TEAs were down only 4.6%. Year to date, TEAs are down almost 7.6% versus last year.

And, excluding TEAs (track sales divided by ten) for the year through May 31, “album sales are down 13.4% versus the same period in 2008 and are down 30.4% against the same period in 2007.” Yipes. Granted, it’s still eight millions “units” in five months, but if sales continue to slide at this rate, what’s going to be left of the music industry after a few more years? Does it even matter?

4 thoughts on “Down down down: How low can album sales go?”

  1. doesn’t matter. the industry isn’t the music. as a fan, there’s more music out there to listen to than ever before. the channels are muddy and there’s no direct way to get to what is the best. though, can you say what the industry put out and promoted was the best? yeah, didn’t think so. it’s beyond an exciting time to be a fan.

    it’s all about self distribution through the web. producing your own promotional items through social networking groups – videos, streaming music, tour schedules, etc.

    as money for promoting and mounting tours goes away (since the labels won’t be the banks screwing the performers over) there will probably become true regional scenes were live shows will compete to get the kids cash. the best will draw the most attention, leading to the most chatter on-line. that will draw attention from other neighboring scenes and those bands can probably draw enough to head out of town. eventually, mount a tour on their own. and once they are doing it at a national level, they can bank roll their own tour or team up with a promotion company to help them out.

    cash will come from the crowds and their merch.

    record companies will be irrelevant, except for those few who get it and will really be partners with the bands and evolve as a management group for their partners in the bands, booking shows, bankrolling the tour, and maybe pressing limited edition vinyl from time to time.

    will corruption will remain in that sort of partnership? yeah, there’s a chance for people to dick over each other whenever their is a relationship like that. at least the previous model is broken down and artist get to start over now with some knowledge of the past and some more control in their hands.

  2. but that’s all part of the business aspect of music and i imagine most artists, or at least a good majority, aren’t wanting have to deal with that aspect on a fairly regular basis.i imagine the business side of it all would be pretty boring to them. what do those people do?

  3. if their music has weight in the local region and is picked up by a larger audience across the web, they will be sought out. look at wavves. kid had a sound, was found and pushed out there, but wasn’t ready for it and melted down. but i digress. artist that are in it for art and not business, can still produce their art. though, while being a part of it in a business sense they can perform their art and hang onto their day job. if they are truly great artists, they will have someone who gravitates to them and supports them. just turn to the art world for some quick lessons from history… vincent & theo (van gogh) and bruno bischofberger & andy warhol. great artist can have benefactors to support them. both in failure and success.

    anyway, the bands that i have known over the years. they’ve known that you hustle or you fall to the side. doesn’t matter if you are a genius or a hack. art, as all things in life, has to have motion behind it to get it out. you can’t strum a guitar and ask for the world to listen.

  4. those are some very good points you’ve made. the last line especially. it really sticks to me.

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