The fourth quarter in the music industry is traditionally fairly big for sales with the holiday season. Well this year, it BETTER be! A report was put out last week by Billboard reporting the SoundScan numbers for the end of the third quarter. Things are looking really scary in the music biz. Not one album by an artist can be certified platinum in 2014 so far according to the sales. Now let’s remember – in the US, an album can be certified platinum once it has sold 1 million copies.
Don’t get confused, the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) seems to have reported a few platinum records so far – Beyonce’s self-titled album and Lorde’s Pure Heroine in the mix – but they report on albums made and distributed to retail outfits. This SoundScan report is looking specifically at scans – the numbers actually sold to the end consumer. Both albums are close to the platinum target, they’ve each sold just under 800,000 copies in 2014 (but they were both released in 2013!)
The Frozen soundtrack has done fairly well this year, selling 3.2 million copies. But, since it’s a soundtrack with performances from multiple artists, it doesn’t count towards the numbers in this report. We have some hope for the last quarter, at least – both Taylor Swift and One Direction are expected to be dropping blockbuster records in time for the holiday season. (And if the little Taylor Swift “White Noise Glitch” is any indication, it very well may happen.) By the end of Q3 in 2013, we had five platinum-certified records, including Justin Timberlake’s comeback, The 20/20 Experience.
It’ll be interesting to follow this a little closer in the next couple months. I’m still unsure if this is speaking more about the music being released, or the consumers.
Read more about it here, in Forbes Magazine.