The physical single may be dead to all but the most die-hard record consumers, but that hasn’t stopped a secondary singles market of sorts from popping up in the digital-music world:
While the vast majority of music consumers still buy CD albums, they are buying less of them, while digital tracks are exploding: According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of physical CDs this year have declined 20 percent from the same point in 2006, from 112 million to 89 million. Digital tracks are up to 288 million from 242 million at the same period last year. And that’s not counting the millions of singles that are illegally downloaded.
“Now, we’re in a very difference place in terms of the single business,” Jim Donio, president of National Association of Recording Merchandisers, said in an interview. “The single business is alive and well, and it’s in the form of track downloads.”
This seems to confirm our suspicion that the albums market of the early millennium was artificially inflated by the relative lack of availability of singles. Remember 1998? After Billboard did away with the “physical release” requirement for Hot 100 inclusion in December of that year, more and more albums-that-shoulda-been-maxi-singles made their way into stores. While that fattened profits and sales tallies (the RIAA established the Diamond award, for more than 10 million units shipped) in 1999), we suspect that it also had the probably-not-all-that-inadvertent effect of making a lot of customers, including us, feel ripped off. (“You Get What You Give” may be a fantastic pop song, but any of you who have ever listened to the rest of that New Radicals album know what we’re talking about)
The single returns to haunt music biz [AP via Yahoo!]