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Some Big Sellers, But the Music Slump Continues

Shania Twain, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Paul McCartney all sell well, but a general holiday bonanza doesn’t come for the recording industry:

    Despite efforts by record executives to stanch declining CD sales by releasing a cavalcade of big-name artists during the critical Christmas shopping season, early sales figures show an already struggling industry may now be in even worse shape.

    In the five weeks since mid-November, when the record labels began their biggest holiday blitz in recent memory, compact disc sales were down 12.9 percent compared to the period in 2001, according to data from Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales.

    ….Through the week ended Dec. 15, the record industry is off 10.8 percent, compared to a year earlier. On Nov. 10, the music business’s tally for the year had been down 10.5 percent from 2001, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

    Unless there is a crush of last-minute shoppers and bargain-hunters in the week after Christmas, the industry’s flood-the-market strategy will have failed, music business analysts say.

    “Given the level of star power that’s out there, the sales are disappointing,” said Michael Nathanson, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein. “It’s a worrying thing. It doesn’t bode well for next year. I can’t imagine a line-up like this for next Christmas. It just says that next year is going to be bad.”

    Industry executives blame the decline on Internet file-sharing and counterfeiting, while consumers complain of a lack of exciting new talent and uninspired music from older artists. Further, a weak economy has forced people to become choosier about how they spend their money and some have decided to spend it on video games and DVD’s, music industry analysts say.

    Holiday sales have always been important to the music industry – with more than 30 percent of the industry’s sales coming in the fourth quarter – and the decline in sales during the season last year prompted executives to be particularly aggressive this year. [NY Times]

The entertainment is like sports: you can play to not lose by playing tight, reactively, defensively, relying on pat formulas; or you can play to win by playing loose, having fun, being creative and aggressive. Guess which approach the music biz has taken over the last several years.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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