Why Selling 10,000 Albums Ain’t What It Used to Be, Just Ask Delorean or Wavves
— The number of albums selling over 10,000 units dropped to 1,215 in 2010, according to Digital Music News’ coverage of the New Music Seminar in L.A. That was down from 1,319 in 2009 and 1,515 in 2008. That’s a big story, but that’s not the whole story.
These mid-tier albums are suffering from a couple problems. Obviously sales are going down. Album sales sink a little more each year, and there’s no end in sight. In addition, some sales are going to far more obscure albums (if you can sell 10,000 units, you’re really not that obscure). The really obscure bands — and there are a lot of them — are selling something like 200 units instead of 100. So while top albums are losing sales, mid-tier albums are taking a hit as well.
But two asterisks need to be placed on this figure from 2010. The first is a note about track sales. The numbers given at New Music Seminar are album units, not track equivalent album (TEA) units (which would include individual track sales from the album). As a rule of thumb, expect 1 to 2 tracks to sell per album unit. So if an album sells 10,000 units, it sold another 10,000 to 20,000 tracks. Thus, the TEA sales number would be 11,000 to 12,000, not 10,000. For example, Wavves’ “King of the Beach” (Fat Possum Records) sold 18,000 albums and 24,000 tracks in 2010. Delorean’s “Subiza” (True Panther) sold 11,000 albums and 18,000 tracks in 2010. (I pulled both albums from Pitchfork’s list of top 50 albums of 2010.)
The other asterisk is for licensing. Artists both signed and unsigned are making money through the placements of their music in TV, movies, commercials, movie trailers and video games. This is real revenue that is not tracked by either SoundScan or the RIAA. But just because it’s off the radar does not mean it doesn’t exist. Expect more businesses to focus on this opportunity as recorded music sales become more challenging. For example, as Billboard has reported, the Windish Agency has opened a music licensing division to help its artists generate revenue from sync placements.
Much Like Avis, Vevo’s #2 With 144 Million Uniques
— VEVO amassed 144 million total unique viewers in the U.S. in January, according to comScore’s latest online video rankings. Those viewers averaged 91.9 viewing minutes per viewer and amassed over 121 million viewing sessions. In terms of total viewers and minutes per viewer, VEVO ranked #2 behind Google sites. In terms of viewing sessions, VEVO was #4 behind Google Sites, Microsoft sites and Hulu.
After VEVO’s 51 million unique viewers came, in order, Yahoo! sites (48.7 million), Viacom Digital (48.1 million), AOL (44.5 million), Facebook (42 million), Microsoft sites (38.1 million), Turner Digital (28.2 million), Fox Interactive Media (25.4 million) and Hulu (25 million).
Converse: Rock & Roll’s Historical Preservationists
— How’s this for music branding? London’s 100 Club has been saved from closure by a sponsorship deal with shoe company Converse. The club will not change its name and Converse will not take an ownership share in the venue.
This is not the first underground music foray by Converse. The company has set up a recording studio called Rubber Tracks. Musicians apply in advance to use the state-of-the-art studio at no cost. That’s right – Converse is letting bands use the studio for free. That includes both recording and post-production. In return, Converse will ask bands for the right to make the music available for free streaming or downloading for a limited time.
( The Guardian)
Green Light For Nashville’s Starwood Amphiteater
— The owners of the property that used to be home to Nashville’s Starwood Amphitheater have been given the green light to build a new venue – for the time being. Outdoor music concerts will be temporary as the developer hopes to proceed with a retail/housing plan when the economy recovers. In the meantime, the property can host up to 12,000 people and all facilities and structures must be portable. The site could host its first concerts this summer, bringing a competitor to downtown Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.