Music sales are up this year, bucking a several year annual decline. Led by strong digital downloads of albums and songs, music sales in the US are up 1.6% through May 8th. That’s according to Nielsen. Physical album sales continue to drop, but the rise in online sales is compensating for the first time. Digital album and track purchases went up 16.8 percent and 9.6 percent respectively.
A contributing factor in this would be the release of the Beatles catalog online which drove catalog album sales to a 5.4% increase. CD sales were down, but only 8% compared to double digit declines for several previous years. And strangely enough, Vinyl album sales were way up – 37% year over year, after growing 14% last year.
So what does all of this mean? Well, the future’s not as bad as it seems. Perhaps precipitous drops in revenue are a thing of the past for the record companies.
Clear Channel has launched a new streaming channel on iHeartRadio for the new film Pirate Radio. The movie, about renegade rockers in the 1960s off the coast of England, is full of great music by The Beatles, The Stones, Beach Boys, Dusty Springfield, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Smokey Robinson, David Bowie, Otis Redding, Cat Stevens and more.
The movie is about a group of DJs who “go rogue” and start a radio station on a boat in the middle of the Northern Atlantic, playing rock records and breaking the law all for the love of music. The songs they played united and defined an entire generation and drove the British government crazy.
It’s a great concept for a station and a perfect promotion of the film. The station has a website where you can listen, watch movie trailers and video clips, check out pictures and buy the soundtrack of the movie. I love the integration of on and offline media used to promote a real station based on a fictional retelling of a story about a real station….
NOTE: For still more irony, Rusty Hodge from Soma.fm let me know that the real station, Radio Caroline, is still streaming online.