Monday, April 28, 2008

This Week in News

Why Mainstream Can Kill

Last week Starbucks announced that it was leaving the music business. Sales have been shockingly low: one journalist calculated that they add up to about two CDs per store, per day. Why did this fail so spectacularly? Paul Resnikoff argues that the Paul McCartney-and-Alicia Keyes combination was too mainstream to be interesting to consumers. Starbucks was more effective when they highlighted talented but unknown artists. He compares that model to music in the video game industry, which prides itself on being cutting edge.
Digital Music News, April 24th

The iPod Plateau: Why Paid Downloads Could Soon Suffer
iPod sales have finally leveled off, rising just one percent during the last quarter. Apple has now sold 150 million iPods, and it’s possible that they’re reaching the saturation point. New iPod sales lead to a spike in iTunes downloads in late December and early January, but that effect could flatten as sales plateau. This is good news for rivals, but since iTunes holds an 80 percent market share it may be bad news for the paid download industry as a whole.
Digital Music News, April 23rd

RIAA Releases 2007 Year-End Shipment Statistics
The RIAA has released statistics for sales and dollar values for 2007. A PDF file of all of the numbers can be found here. Some of the highlights, via Coolfer:

• CD shipments dropped 17.5% while the dollar value of those shipments dropped 20.5%.
• The vinyl records saw shipments increase 36.6% with a 46.2% increase in dollar value.
• Cassette shipments (net) dropped 41.2% with, oddly, only an 18.4% drop in dollar value.
• Kiosk downloads increased 28.5% by units and 38.1% by dollar value.
• Subscriptions to music services (using a weighted annual average) increased a mere 0.7% while their dollar value dropped 2.6%.
• Mobile increased 14.6% by units and by 13.6% by dollar value. Mobile includes master ringtones, ringbacks, music videos, full track downloads and "other mobile."
SonyBMG Makes Back Catalogue Available For Free Online
SonyBMG agreed to partner with to offer free streaming music from its back catalogue, including big names like Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley. Users will have to listen to a short advertisement per album, and can also pay to download the songs.
Angry Ape. 4-28

Coldplay to give away next single for free
Coldplay will become the latest act to try giving away their music for free, according to Reuters. The first single from their upcoming album, “Viva La Vida or Death And All His Friends,” due in June, will be made available for download from the band’s website.
Reuters, 4-28

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