Greg Kot is attending the Future of Music Summit, and reported back with this little tidbit about U.S. album sales in 2008:
More than 115,000 albums were released, but only 110 sold more than 250,000 copies, a mere 1,500 topped 10,000 sales, and fewer than 6,000 cracked the 1,000 barrier
Think about that for a minute. Not sure exactly how this figure was calculated, or whether it’s any different from years past, but still. Not a lotta hits, are there? The fact that fewer than 6,000 sold more than a thousand copies makes me a feel a little better about the whole Glorious Noise Records experience. (I’m extremely proud of all three of our releases and still feel bad that we weren’t able to find more of an audience for Quasar Wut-Wut and Riviera. I know know know there are at least 500 more people out there who would appreciate one band and/or the other.)
4 thoughts on “Guess how many “Hit” albums there were in 2008…”
Not sure of the percentages and if this represents a worse year than others but this has always been the case for the majors. Just think of how many bands you’ve never heard of who make up the racks at Best Buy–and they’re selective about the titles they carry. Financially, something like 5% of the releases from majors support the other 95%. Brilliant business model, no?
Yeah, but unless my math is off (and it very well could be) 110 out of 115,000 is only 0.1% vs. 99.9%. And that’s just insane.
Since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, I’ve thought of 250,000 as the “break even” point for a major label release. Might not be “profitable enough” in the eyes of an executive, but in general that’s about the point where a label is going to recoup. But if there are only 110 releases per year at that level, I don’t understand how they can possibly make their payroll, pay their bills, etc.
I’m of the school that believes massive hits may be a thing of the past, mainly due to the internets and market segmentation. There just isn’t an apparatus in place anymore to create huge hits anymore – not even MTV.
Plus, the ‘pop’ musics the record companies are pushing these days suck like they never have before. It’s like they’ve finally manage to completely drain the last dregs of originality from the music business, and that wasn’t much to start with.
The beancounters and market testers won out over the artists – now the RIAA gets to reap those benefits.
I dig Lefsetz’s comments, to the effect that if this continues, the greedy fucks who rule the major labels will realize that there are more lucrative fields that they can attempt to rape and pillage, and micromanage into the ground, and hopefully will abandon the music biz altogether. This (and here’s where I slightly depart or expand upon Lefsetz) will create an inevitable vacuum, and will a) allow for another Sun Records, another Stax, another Stiff Records, a company which could shake the foundations of music, and b) will force those who choose to remain in the biz to find new ways to want to make us want to get all batshit crazy passionate about music all over again. Remember how cool it was when you went to the record store and couldn’t wait to crack the shrinkwrap of that LP? Want to feel that thrill again? I sure as hell would.
And I’m happy as hell to have those 3 GloNo Records in my collection; so when are you guys putting out the new QWW disc?