Business Matters: Thanks to Lil Wayne, Digital Albums Outsell Tracks for Only Second Time Ever
Business Matters: Thanks to Lil Wayne, Digital Albums Outsell Tracks for Only Second Time Ever

Thanks to Lil Wayne, Digital Albums Outsell Tracks for Only Second Time Ever
-- With the help of Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter IV," digital albums topped digital track sales for only the second time in the digital era.

Put another way, last week the digital album represented more purchased music than digital tracks. Of course, tracks represented more unit sales - 2.28 million digital albums to 22.42 million tracks, according to Nielsen SoundScan. But when multiplied by 10 to account for the number of tracks on an album, digital albums beat out tracks 22.79 million to 22.42 million. (One could argue that a typical album has more than 10 tracks. But 10 tracks per album is the traditional measure used to calculate Track Equivalent Albums, and it is used here, too.)

Two big debuts helped digital albums reach the tipping point. "Tha Carter IV" sold 362,000 digital albums in its first week, representing 38% of its sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "I'm With You" also had a strong digital debut. Its 104,000 digital album sales represented 45% of its total sales.

It's only the second time tracks from digital albums exceeded individually purchased digital tracks. The first was in late November 2010 after the Beatles' catalog launched at iTunes. In the week ending November 21, 2010 digital albums accounted for 23.86 million tracks versus 22.2 million from individual tracks.

While major releases skew the ratio in favor of digital albums in any given week, last week's strong showing by the digital album is actually part of a longer trend. In fact, digital albums have represented a greater share of all digital music purchases over the years. Through September 4, digital albums accounted for 667 million tracks (again, calculated using 10 tracks per album) while 868.3 million digital tracks were sold - a ratio of 1.3-to-1. Through the same week in 2010, that ratio was 1.4-to-1. Back in 2009 it was 1.61-to-1. And at this time in 2008 the ratio was 1.9-to-1.

This year that trend is all the more remarkable considering that track sales increased last November and have remained higher ever since. Track sales are up 11% through September 5 after finishing 2010 up just 1%. But digital albums are faring even better, rising 20% this year after finishing 2010 up 13%.

Shocker: Facebook Is Making Lots of Money

-- Not only is Facebook becoming a hot a destination for third-party developers and their investors, it's also making quite a bit of money (the two are somewhat related since Facebook keeps 30% of virtual goods sales). A Reuters reports claims Facebook had revenue of $1.6 billion and net income of $500 million in the first half of 2011. At that rate, the company's revenue and profit are roughly doubling every 12 months. A Goldman Sachs document showed to clients this year put Facebook's revenue and net income for the first nine months of 2010 at $1.2 billion and $335 million.

Unlike Groupon, which is reportedly reconsidering its planned IPO, Facebook is the rare tech darling in that the company is very profitable as a privately owned company. That should give some relief to the many companies who are integrating their services with Facebook. There's little chance of financial distress any time soon, which means the company's leadership and strategic vision are stable. Financial stability also means the company has the resources to constantly innovate, improve and stay ahead of the competition (which now includes Google+, the search giant's social networking play). It all adds up to a friendly, inviting environment in which to integrate your products and services. ( Reuters)

BFM Teams up With Royalty Network

-- BFM Digital has teamed up with independent publishing company The Royalty Network Inc. The deal makes BFM the preferred digital distribution company for The Royalty Network and gives its songwriters and artists without a label a conduit to the digital marketplace. In addition, BFM is the exclusive digital distributor for Krian Music Group, The Royalty Network's recently launched label that has signed The Ettes, VHS or Beta, Buck$ and Richie Loop. (Press release)

Live Nation Goes to Bethlehem

-- Live Nation will book the new Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA. The 3,500-capacity venue (2,250 for seated shows) is set for a launch in May 2012. ( Lehigh Valley Music Blog)