I’ve been reading the Digital Music News today – with another report of sales declining. I presume that the article is built around press releases of the likes of the IFPI and the BPI. The problem I have with these stats is when I look at the IFPI’s figures (for the UK at least) unit volumes are increasing. Taking figures from 2000-2005 (2006 figures you have to pay for) as you can see here.
Unless I’m mistaken that is definitely an upward trend. Now the relative value of individual CDs could be argued as download on the basis that prices are probably rising at lower rate than your preferred measure of inflation, but so are a large number of things (including simple production costs) – this is simply a reflection of market pressures and the evolving global market.
The other thing is that the music industry is highly seasonal – in part this is the record industries own making. How many high profile artists release a new album in the first three months of the year? Very few – your U2’s REM’s, Coldplay’s either hit the Easter period or are released in the August – November period. So you’ll see seasonal drops and rises – so 6% drop between first and last quarters is to be expected.
But releasing major artists and promoting them all in a shortish period, aren’t they creating a tougher competition between themselves for people’s dollar and pound? I know now we have a little one too take care of, I have notably more limited budget – so more albums get pushed onto my amazon wishlist if I spend my month’s music money before I’ve got all the releases I’d like. Those albums on my wishlist that aren’t purchased soon after will probably get deleted from the list – and that’s lost sales. So spreading releases means I can spread my spending better – means more sales. And I’m damn sure this is a common situation.
So as Disraeli said – There are lies, damned lies, and statistics, and the music industry may have problems but it can do a lot to help itself without resorting to suing the hell out their customers and people trying to sell their product.