On the one hand, there are the dollar figures, which in themselves are somewhat difficult to come to any reasonable grips with unless you are someone who spends their time being a quant, professionally or recreationally, and if you are one you look at this number and wish that you’d been calculatedly clever enough to have bought a piece of the action before the number dropped:
Which, in itself, doesn’t seem that big a deal until you look at it like this:
Which is a significant number of places after the dollar sign.
That, according to MusicBusiness Worldwide, is the Q1 cash generation of Sony for its recorded music and music publishing operations.
An increase of 9.7% over the same period last year.
But now as we move to the other hand, there is something that is truly odd, or at least a little bit unusual.
Here are the musicians who generated the greatest revenue and what got them there:
- SZA: SOS
- Miley Cyrus: Endless Summer Vacation
- Harry Styles: Harry’s House
- P!NK: TRUSTFALL
- Depeche Mode: Memento Mori
- Beyoncé: RENAISSANCE
- Måneskin: RUSH!
- Bob Dylan: The Bootleg Series Vol. 17: Fragments-Time Out of Mind Sessions (1996-1997)
- Michael Jackson: Thriller
- Harry Styles: Fine Line
The first thing that is atypical is the fact that Dylan is on the list. The week in October 2016 when Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature, Money magazine of all things had a story about Dylan’s chart performance. (Let’s face it: you can readily imagine Money writing about the likes of Ben Bernanke or Paul Krugman, Nobel economics laureates, but Literature? Dylan?)
The piece says, in part, “For all of Dylan’s acclaim and notoriety, and also for how phenomenally prolific ‘the voice of a generation’ has been. . .you might assume he is one of the best-selling artists of all time. Hardcore Dylan fans know that just isn’t the case.”
His sales numbers have not been in the least bit great, at least in the context of Big Selling Artists.