For years, the music industry operated under the assumption that digital sales would make up for sinking physical CD sales and it’s finally happened. It may be very short lived, but through May 8, music sales are up 1.6% over the previous year, marking the first this has happened in years. The increase comes as digital sales sold enough to offset the continuing decline in physical sales.
This news comes on top of last week’s good word that digital sales were up 8% over the same time period last year.
1. U.S. album sales (not ranked): Woohoo! Overall sales are up for the first time in nearly a decade. It’s only 1.6% over the previous year, but for just one shiny moment we’re going to pretend that it’s all going to be alright.
2. Katy Perry (not ranked): Lady Gaga may get more attention for letting her freak flag fly, but Katy keeps setting record after record. A few weeks ago she became the first artist in several years to score four No. 1s from an album. This week she becomes the only artist in the 52-year history of the Billboard Hot 100 to have a song in the top 10 of the chart continuously for a year. “Firework,” indeed.
3. Google (not ranked): The mega-search engine (and YouTube owner) bows its Google Music Beta service to largely positive reviews, although it has to settle for launching the cloud service after it is unable to secure licenses from the major labels in order to debut a full-on downloadable service. Not really #winning.
4. Adele (No. 3): She just moves from strength to strength. The British singer lands her first No. 1 single on the Hot 100 as “Rolling in the Deep” goes to No. 1 on the chart six months after its release. “21,” the album featuring “Rolling” remains at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and Adele’s first album, “19,” soars back up the Billboard 200. “Rolling in the Dough” would be more appropriate.
5. Limewire (not ranked): The P2P and the Big Four label groups (Sony Music, Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and EMI) reach a $105 million out-of-court settlement. Who’s the winner? The labels, despite the fact they were intially asking for $1.4 billion.
6. Lady Antebellum (not ranked): “Just A Kiss,” the group’s first single from its forthcoming third album, debuts at No 7 on the Billboard Hot 100, setting a record for the highest debut by a country group on the pop chart.
7. Fleet Foxes (not ranked): The neo-folkies hit a major milestone this week: The group’s “Helplessness Blues” sells 8,900 copies on vinyl this week, marking the highest amount in the history of Nielsen Soundscan. It also sells 48,000 digital copies and 34,000 CDs for a hat trick that adds up to a No. 4 debut.
8. Fleetwood Mac (not ranked): The band, who just saw a major surge in sales for its landmark album “Rumours” thanks to the “Glee” treatment looks like it will head back out on tour next year. This will likely be the only time in the history of Music Power Rankings that we get to have both the Fleet Foxes and Fleetwood Mac in a ranking.
9. Pink Floyd (not ranked): The veteran band announces a huge reissue and archival footage program to give CDs one last hurrah. Additionally, Roger Waters and David Gilmour reunited for the first time publicly since 2005 to perform the classic “Comfortably Numb” at London’s O2 Arena. See it here.
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