Despite her entire album leaking weeks before its street date, Beyonce topped the charts with her aptly titled fourth album, 4. Big Sean also made waves with his debut, Finally Famous. The G.O.O.D. Music artist moved over 85,000 units of the album featuring Wiz Khalifa, Chiddy Bang, and Lupe Fiasco. Curren$y charted with his Warner debut, Weekend At Burnie’s, the short album produced entirely by Monsta Beatz. It’s worth noting that two frontrunners of the new west movement, Dom Kennedy and Kendrick Lamar, were in contention for first week sales. What’s even more noteworthy is that Kendrick sold only 763 less copies than Dom even though his album came out four days later.
Beyonce “4” – 310,308 (23% digital)
Big Sean “Finally Famous” – 87,085 (42% digital) [read review]
Curren$y “Weekend At Burnie’s” – 22,506 (42% digital) [read review]
Dom Kennedy “From The Westside, With Love II” – 6,016 (100% digital) [read review]
Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun “Monumental” – 5,436 (36% digital) [read review]
Kendrick Lamar “Section.80″ – 5,253 (100% digital)
J. Cole “Workout” [Single] – 3,416 (100% digital) [listen]
Shabazz Palaces “Black Up” – 2,917 (60% digital) [read review]
Lil B “The BasedGod” “I’m Gay” – 1,674 (100% digital)
Freddie Gibbs & Statik Selektah “Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away” 553 (two week total) (100% digital) [read review]
As Sam reported yesterday, music sales are finally up this year. If you take a look at the sales figures above, you will notice that a substantial portion of album sales are coming at the hands of independent artists. Despite sales only rising 1% since 2004, this is excellent news and sign of prosperity for all of the ‘little guys’ out there that have been making great stride in spite of turmoil such as mergers and acquisitions among major record labels.
It’s worth noting that digital sales have allowed the industry to grow, more so this year than ever. Last Sunday, Eminem’s Recovery became the first digital album to go platinum. Additionally, Beyonce’s latest album, 4, which was released on June 28th has already exceeded 70,000 copies digitally. That’s not to mention the crossover sensation Adele, who has averaged sales of 20,000 to 30,000 singles a week. Her album 21 has sold 2.4 million copies to date, 100,000 of which are digital. Margaret Brenneman has concluded that the ability to unbundle tracks has caused significant growth in the digital space. According to her, the Nielsen Soundscan report of 155.5 million albums sold thus far in 2011 fails to acknowledge the total amount of ‘track-equivalent’ albums sold. If you were to consider the standard album to be 10 individually downloaded tracks, the actual amount of albums sold so far in 2011 is 221.5 million.
In the case of anti-piracy acts potentially overriding privacy, the Motion Picture Association of America along with several groups acting on behalf of independent record companies and filmmakers announced that internet service providers (ISPs) will begin enforcing new measures such as slowing load time to deter customers from illegally obtaining music and films. Among the Internet providers involved in the deal are AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Verizon and Time Warner Cable. According to the announcement, the carriers involved in the agreement will begin alerting customers by email or other means as a warning for illegal activity. If such activity persists, the service provider will take greater measures to discourage piracy. However, it should be noted that “The companies took pains to say that the agreement did not oblige Internet providers to shut down a repeat offender’s account, and that the system of alerts was meant to be ’educational.’ But they noted that carriers would retain their right to cut off any user who violated their terms of service.” The New York Times went on to elaborate, “warnings escalate from simple e-mail notifications to, at levels 5 and 6, a set of ‘mitigation measures,’ like reduced connection speeds or a block on Web browsing. As the alerts progress, a customer must acknowledge that he understands the notice. Customers will also have the opportunity to contest the complaint.” What does this all mean? Most likely nothing will change as long as ISPs are unwilling to completely cut-off their customers due to piracy. It’s also unclear as to how exactly each service provider will monitor content and determine what material is pirated and what isn’t.
Finally, ever thought about what goes into making an album profitable for an artist? In the video below, lawyer Martin Frascogna explain how all that glitters is not gold by breaking down How To Sell 1 Million Albums and Still Owe Your Label $500,000. This is definitely an interesting video if you have 15 minutes to set aside and watch it.