November 12, 2014

Is The CD Dead?



It seems all age groups are still buying CD's. These figures surprised me.
From Streisand, Diamond and Franklin to Taylor Swift. 

When Taylor Swift fans went to music stores to buy her new release ‘1989’ Noise11 researched the claim that “the CD is dead” and found it a long way from the truth.

A breakdown of first week sales in the USA shows that only 50% of Taylor’s 1.298 million first week sales with digital. The rest were physical CD sales.

In Australia last week the percentage of Taylor Swift CD sales was even bigger. Of her 21,610 sales in week two on sale in the Australian market the ‘1989’ album managed 9,122 download sales compared to 12488 CD sales or about 41% digital sales.

The figures make a farce of “the CD is dead” naysayers. Their ‘death of the CD’ call sounds like that “bring out your dead” scene in the Monty Python Holy Grail movie.

Of the Top 10 albums in Australia in the past week four albums did better digitally but two of those were split fairly evenly.

The Calvin Harris ‘Motion’ album was the clear download winner with 6879 downloads to 1211 in its debut week before stores were fully stocked.

Flight Facilities ‘Down To Earth’ also had a good download week with 1418 download sales to 748 CDs.

The other two Triple J’s ‘Like A Version 10’ and Hilltop Hoods ‘Walking Under Stars’ were more evenly divided. ‘Like A Version’ sold 1457 downloads to 1421 CDs and ‘Walking Under Stars’ sold 1225 downloads to 1079 CDs.

Along with Taylor Swift ‘1989’ the Top 10 albums selling better on CD were:
2. Human Nature – Jukebox sold 8827 CDs to 815 downloads
4. Ed Sheeran – X sold 4199 CDs to 3438 downloads
5. Soundtrack – Frozen sold 2726 CDs to 509 downloads
7. Slipknot – 5 The Gray Chapter sold 1770 CDs to 643 downloads
9. Barbra Streisand – Partners sold 2138 CDs to 105 downloads

The breakdown of the 62,219 sales in last weeks top 10 albums was 25612 downloads to 36607 CDs. In the overall Top 10 the CD was the clear winner.

The growth of downloads was forced onto the market by the music industry when the industry decided in its wisdom to eliminate the CD single thus removing the reason for younger music fans to visit music stores. Fans were forced online. In Australia, only Sony Music still releases the CD single for all Australian acts and chart hits. It should also be noted that Sony Music has the most success breaking pop acts in Australia with Justice Crew the labels best selling new act of 2014.

The perception that downloads sell more than CD is also more ‘smoke and mirrors’ from the music industry. For the Australian music industry a sale is a sale no matter the format or the price. One download sale from iTunes is given equal weight to one physical CD album from a music store. Therefore the claim that “downloads sell more than CDs” on that basis is technically correct.

Looking further down the chart in the Top 20 sales were:

11. Sam Smith – In The Lonely Hour (1255 CDs Vs 842 downloads)
12. Neil Diamond – Melody Road (1810 CDs Vs 123 downloads)
13. You + Me – Rose Ave (1320 CDs Vs 586 downloads)
14. Susan Boyle – Hope (1535 CDs Vs 41 downloads)
15. Foo Fighters – Greatest Hits (1285 CDs Vs 262 downloads)
16. Annie Lennox – Nostalgia (1420 CDs Vs 692 downloads)
17. Karise Eden – Things Live Done (1261 CDs Vs 148 downloads)
18. The Smith Street Band – Throw Me To The River (338 CDs Vs 1046 downloads)
19. Ed Sheeran – + (303 CDs Vs 1031 downloads)
20. Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga – Cheek To Cheek (1233 CDs Vs 94 downloads)

Albums 1 – 10 sold 36607 CDs compared to 25612 downloads
Albums 11 – 20 sold 11760 CDs compared to 3804 downloads

The Australian Top 20 last week sold 48367 CDs to 29416 downloads or 61% CD sales to 39% downloads.

The statement that the download has killed the CD is false. It may be what some sectors of the music industry such as Universal Music want you to believe. However, the facts show Australians are still buying audio quality over convenience.

By Paul Cashmere

With thanks to Noise 11


Picture of Taylor Swift cited here.

Neil Diamond Debuts At 4 In UK

Neil Diamond once again proves that he has one of the most enduring careers in music as his new album, Melody Road, debuts at number 4 in the U.K.(see clip above).

The top ten placing for the record continues what is now a nine year long comeback that he has experienced in his career since the release of 12 Songs in 2005. He hadn’t had a top ten album in the U.K. for 21 years when he released the first of his two Rick Rubin produced albums, but Songs started him back on the road to major chart success. He followed with Home Before Dark (2008 / #1), Dreams (2010 / #8) and, now, Melody Road.

Diamond’s last career compilation also jumps back up the charts. The Very Best of Neil Diamond peaked at 5 in the U.K. upon its release in 2011 and, this week, it jumps from 97 to 28.

Diamond is the first of eleven veteran artists to debut on this week’s top 100. At number 5 is the debut of Status Quo’s 18th top ten studio album in Britain and their 23rd top ten album overall with Aquostic: Stripped Bare. It is also the highest charting studio album for the group since 1996’s Don’t Stop: The 30th Anniversary Album went to 2.

Neil Diamond Announces Australian  and NZ Tour.

The Mark Lanegan Band premiers at 22 with Phantom Radio, their second best showing in the U.K. after 2012’s Blues Funeral which made it one spot higher. Between Screaming Trees and his solo work, Lanegan has made the British top 100 five times. None of his solo work has charted in his native-U.S. and Screaming Trees only went as high as number 134 in 1996 with Dust.

Scott Walker scores his highest charting album in 19 years in the U.K. with Soused. The collaboration with Sunn O))) starts at 30, almost matching the number 27 peak of his 1995 album Tilt. Walker’s biggest success came in the late 60’s after he left the Walker Brothers when his first three solo albums all peaked in the top three.

At 32 is the new album from Aretha Franklin, Sings the Great Diva Classics. The album has garnered great reviews around the world which has translated to sales that give her the highest charting album she has had in Britain in 45 years. In 1969, her album Soul ’69 peaked at number 9. Since that time, only two other Franklin studio albums have charted in the U.K., Who’s Zoomin’ Who? (1985 / #13) and Aretha (1986 / #51).

Billy Idol also makes a big return to the charts with King and Queens of the Underground. The album premiers at 35, his first studio album to chart in Britain since Cyberpunk went to 20 in 1993.

At 71 is the debut of The Hands of Man by Chris De Burgh, a bit of a disappointment as it falls short of his last four albums including Footsteps which went to number 4 in 2009.

Del Amitri also have a new album on the chart that is a bit of a disappointment. Into the Mirror opens at 75, well below any studio album in their career except for their 1985 debut which didn’t chart. Since then, four albums have gone to the top ten and their last set, 2002’s Can You Do Me Good?, went to 30.

Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore premiers at 78 with The Best Day, his first trip into the British top 100 as a solo artist.

Dexy’s, who were once Dexy’s Midnight Runners, opens at 79 with Nowhere is Home, by far their worst charting album.

Searching For the Young Soul Rebels (1980 / #6)
Too-Rye-Ay (1982 / #2)
Don’t Stand Me Down (1985 / #22)
One Day I’m Going to Soar (2013 / #13)
Nowhere is Home (2014 / #79)
Finally, Rory Gallagher debuts at 98 with Irish Tour ’74: 40th Anniversary.

On the singles chart, R. Kelly jumps 164 to 3 with Bump & Grind 2014, credited to Waze & Odyssey vs. R. Kelly.

The top five albums this week in the U.K.:
I Forget Where We Were – Ben Howard
5 – The Gray Chapter – Slipknot
X – Ed Sheeran
Melody Road – Neil Diamond
Aquostic: Stripped Bare – Status Quo

The top five singles:
All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor
Thinking Out Loud – Ed Sheeran
Bump & Grind 2014 – Waze & Odyssey vs. R. Kelly
Bang Bang – Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj

Shake It Off – Taylor Swift

With thanks to Noise 11



Why Vinyl Is The Only Worthwhile Way To Own Music        
2014 Is The First Year Ever With ZERO Platinum-certified Records
Millennials Are Buying More Vinyl Records
New Laser Turntable Plays Your Records Without Even Touching Them