Beatles Still Popular, iTunes is Digital Gold
What happens when you deprive a entire generation access to digital copies of arguably the most influential band of their time, and then release said collection?
They spit out money like a baby does brussel sprouts.
Nielsen numbers released yesterday show a 1.6% growth in music sales through May of 2011. In case you haven't been paying attention, since p2p file sharing showed up, the music business hasn't been doing so hot (with album sales). So this is big news to music executives. More encouraging? The bulk of single and album sales were digital downloads (over half). Digital album sales are up 16.8% through may and single track purchases are up 9.6%. Overall digital album sales are up 12.4% compared to last year.
And who does Neilsen thank in their evaluation of the numbers? The Beatles. The debut of The Beatles entire catalog last November has apparently infused the anemic music industry with some red blood cells. Total sales of the Beatles catalog by January had reached over five million songs and1 million albums, no doubt helping with the 5.4% rise in catalog album sales.
All the back-patting by executives shouldn't be reserved for the Beatles and digital downloads though. Freakin' Vinyl is making a comeback. As a DJ, and verified crate digger, I nearly shed a tear when I read vinyl sales had increased by 14.2% in 2010, and increased 37% in the beginning of 2011 compared to last year.
Still, despite all of this interesting data, what happens to the music industry when everything jumps to the cloud? CD's have long been the money maker in the music industry, with digital downloads starting to take over, but a move to cloud based storage would make both methods obsolete. What's the point of downloading a file I'm never going to store locally? It may be years from happening, but the subscription based music services so many of us cringe at, and others love, might become the standard. The music business has already shown its unwillingness to adapt and change with technology, holding onto outdated revenue models as long as possible.
Apple with their future iCloud and Google with it's current cloud based music service, are already investing in the future of music. It appears the music industry will most likely operate through external innovation, instead of innovating on its own.