Compilation Album Sales, AOL Music and UK Music Research Project News, May 5, 2013

Compilation Album Sales, AOL Music and UK Music Research Project News, May 5, 2013

Digital sales of compilation albums continue to rise surprisingly, revealed a BPI-sponsored study. Also, AOL Music was shut down. And a novel music industry study will gauge the impact of musicians and music industry professionals on the UK’s economy.




Compilation Album Sales Booming in the Digital Era


Compilation album sales rose by 7.2 percent in 2012, despite predictions that downloadable music focused increasingly on singles would completely destroy the niche.


The Independent released figures from a study conducted by the British recorded music industry (BPI), which showed the sales increase can be greatly attributed to the popularity of the Now That’s What I Call Music series, currently celebrating its 30th year. These collections held steady in the Top 3 spots on last year’s compilation charts. And Now That’s What I Call Christmas and Now That’s What I Call Running were close behind at Number 4. In fact, the entire list of albums in theTop-15-best-selling compilations were variations on the Now compilations, which are produced through a partnership between SMI and Universal’s UMTV.


Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the BPI said that while many in the music business were surprised that 23.5% of compilations bought in 2012 were purchased in downloadable formats, the phenomenon actually makes sense:  “… These albums offer an expert filter – someone has done the work for you by picking the best of the genre.” Total sales of Now collections last year were at 2.9 million, an 11-year high.


Taylor added, the sales increase is also due to the fact that the Now brand is trusted by listeners and also is more affordable than other compilations albums that have 60 tracks or more.


Sales of compilations are already up 11.8 percent this year and currently represent 21% of all albums sold.


AOL Music Closed for Business


The AOL Music news site and its associated properties The BoomBox, The Boot and Noisecreep are now shut down. The immediate closure was announced on April 26 via tweets by Spinner editor Dan Reilly and a host of other surprised employees and reported by sites like CNet and Mashable. Reilly also disclosed that all employees at the four AOL Music outlets had been laid off.   


AOL attempted to break into the digital music arena with a variety of online services over the past decade. In order to get in on the shifting music business, the company picked up Spinner and music tech business Nullsoft for $400 million in 1999.


Thomas Chau, AOL Radio’s program director said that it will continue to operate:  “AOL Radio will continue, but everyone I work with will be unemployed as of today.”


AOL has not yet issued an official statement about the demise of its music news site.


UK Music Research Project to Ask, “How Much is Music Worth?”


British national music trade organization UK Music is gearing up for a new study – the UK Music Project – that will determine how much the music industry contributes to the United Kingdom’s overall economy, according to Music Instrument Professional. The study will mark the first time the music industry’s economy in a single country has been analyzed this closely against its overall economy.    


UK Music protects the interests of the British commercial music industry that includes artists, musicians, songwriters and composers, record labels, music managers, music publishers, studio producers and music licensing organizations.


The Musicians’ Union will also contribute to the project. The group is asking that its members and others within the music industry contribute to help “celebrate” the positive impact they have on the economy.


UK Music stated, the project was motivated by the need to continue to assert the value of the music industry – which has experienced challenges in recent years – and especially the value of its artists:  “Musicians and composers are a crucial part of the music industry. And the music industry is a key growth sector of the UK economy. This importance needs to be measured, documented, and celebrated. UK Music is setting out to do just that in an ambitious research program.”  


The project will set out to accomplish a range of goals: define the parameters of the music industry, measure its size and show specifically how it contributes to the economy; identify risks and opportunities within the music market; track how new services, technologies and legislation has affected the business; get a clear picture of how consumer behavior has changed in recent years.


The report will be presented to the government and published in late 2013. All survey respondents will remain anonymous, and data will be aggregated.

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