According to Rollingstone.com, album sales nationwide reportedly hit its lowest low since the use of Soundscan first began, way back in 1991. The week of August 8th through August 14th generated a measly 4.95 million albums sold. Even worse, the last time overall album sales reached such a low…was earlier this year, when album sales for the week of May 30th were almost just as bad; a dismal 4.98 million albums.
For those of you that don’t keep track of album sales and the general state of the music industry (like myself), let me state emphatically that these numbers are bad. Really bad.
How bad, you ask?
Let’s look at it this way: Eminem’s new album Recovery has been dominating the charts literally all summer long, sitting atop the Billboard Album Charts almost every week since it’s been released. Unlike almost any other album released in the past few years, Recovery has somehow managed to sell consistently, and sell a lot. Its dominance is positively unstoppable at this point, with only Katy Perry’s upcoming album standing a chance against such momentum. Recovery is a monster of an album. A beast, if you will.
So how many copies has it actually sold?
2.1 million, to be (almost) exact.
That is not a lot. When Eminem released his record-breaking sophomore album The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000, it sold around 1.8 million copies in the first week; i.e., damn near the amount of albums Recovery has sold over the course of the entire summer.
In other words, the record industry, as it currently operates, is like one of those old-school, Zack Morris cell phones; clunky, confining, impractical, and obsolete. Businesses as usual is clearly not working at this point, and something is gonna have to give. Does that mean that the industry snakes and shady record execs are gonna be out of the job, leaving the music community to finally have the ability to forge a new, utopian atmosphere in the music business, marked by complete, unfettered artistic freedom? Not at all. That’s why its called the music business.
They just need a new business model.