Can you believe this? Album’s are actually selling. It looks like everyone’s winning this week.
Chris Brown “F.A.M.E.” – 271,029 (23% digital)
Jennifer Hudson “I Remember Me” – 165,077 (14% digital)
Bobby V “Fly On The Wall” – 37,636 (13% digital)
Gucci Mane “Mr. Zone 6″ – 25,000 (n/a% digital)
Pharoahe Monch “W.A.R. (We Are Renegades)” – 9,720 (42% digital) – [Read Review]
Baby Bash “Bashtown” – 2,828 (15% digital)
Zion I & The Grouch “Heroes In The Healing Of The Nation” – 2,148 (48% digital)
CunninLynguists “Oneirology” – 1,197 (61% digital)
Yo Gotti “King Of Memphis” – 948 (100% digital)
Horseshoe G.A.N.G. “Firing Squad” – 630 (30% digital)
For the past two weeks, I’ve noted that Google and Apple are in a race to get their cloud ‘music locker’ technologies in order. Well it looks like Amazon beat them out. The online retailer is currently offering 5 GB of free music/video/photo/document storage to all registered customers. Additional storage is available for a fee, but if you purchase an MP3 album from Amazon, you get an additional 20 GB in return (that’s quite an incentive to actually buy music). From there, you can access your files from the web and use Amazon’s Cloud Player on your Android phone. I can only speculate, but it’s likely that Google and Apple are held up because they are attempting acquire new music licenses from major labels. Amazon sort of said “f*ck that.” “We don’t need a license to store music. The functionality is the same as an external hard drive,” said Craig Pape, director of music at Amazon. Maybe so because the Cloud Drive stores more than just music, but who knows if that argument would actually hold up in court.
What does all of this mean for the future of the industry? It doesn’t take a psychic to foresee that CDs will eventually go the way of VHS and other obsolete technologies. Think about it; why would you drop $10 on 15 tracks when you could spend roughly the same price every month and have an infinite playlist that’s completely customizable? Unfortunately, we can’t just jump from point A to point B without blowback. The streaming technology currently available is sneaking up awfully fast – a little too fast for deals already in-place and store shelves cluttered with withering CDs. Based on how prevalent legal and illegal streams are on the web, it shouldn’t surprise anyone when their local FYE goes out of business…but could labels go under as well? The whole business model is rapidly changing, which may not only hurt the suits sitting in the offices of major labels, but the artists as well. Kyle Bylin reports that streaming music has already caused a 1% drop in music royalties. This may continue as more streaming options pop-up such as iTunes’ subscription service and Google’s competitive technology…that is until the point where everyone streams music and it becomes the norm. In the instance of pay-to-play streams, the revenue will likely be accounted for in the same manner that it is today (ie: an artist that sells more streams gets paid more). It’s too soon to tell if the industry will adapt or if the proverbial knees of giant conglomerates will buckle under the weight of album sales fall-out; but if you find yourself pressing-up copies of that demo you’ve been working on, take my advice and stop it!