albumsales22

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Slaughterhouse “The EP” – 5,027 (80% digital)

The LBC Crew “Haven’t You Heard…(Re-Issue)” – 284 (56% digital)

Hell Rell & JR Writer “Gun Clap” – 138 (22% digital)

Wise Intelligent “Wise Intelligent Iz The Unconkable Djezuz Djonez” – 67  (100% digital)

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We often focus on US album sales, but fail to see the bigger picture by examining the industry as a whole.  The British music industry is also suffering at the hands of piracy, forcing execs to resort to new tactics to generate sales.  Most recently, a policy was set in place, known as “on air, on sale” ensuring that if you hear a song online, it is also available for digital sale.  In addition, the price of singles has dropped by 23% since 2002.  As The Telegraph reports, it’s not all good in the UK:

The number of new British acts that broke through last year was the lowest on record. Britain is in no way suffering from a paucity of talent, but the entire music ecosystem remains distorted by illegal downloading. With only one in four songs downloaded over the internet acquired legitimately in Britain, there is still a huge way to go.

The biggest barrier to growth and innovation in the creative sector is the delay in implementing legislation to tackle the problem that was passed nearly 12 months ago. The industry is playing its part by encouraging new digital services, alongside campaigns appealing to the hearts and minds of music fans. But any weakening of our IP framework, now under major review, would represent a gigantic and unwelcome gamble on Britain’s creative and cultural future.

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On the upside, English alt rockers, Radiohead, have really prospered from the industry’s digital age, most notably by giving away their 2007 album In Rainbows for download with a name-your-own-price option.  That album actually generated more profit than their previous commercial release, Hail To The Thief, and hit number 1 on the Billboard 200 when it was commercially released three months later. The group is shying away from the name-your-price model when they release their next album, The King Of Limbs, digitally this Saturday.  The band will offer two digital versions of their album; an mp3 version for $9 and a higher quality WAV version for $14.  Innovative as always, the group is responding to the decline in physical sales by offering an incentive to purchase the physical version when it’s released in two months by offering what they’ve dubbed “the world’s first newspaper album.”  The album, which costs $35, is packaged with a plethora of artwork, ranging from sheets of art to “625 tiny pieces” along with a CD version and two collectable 10″ vinyl records.  This formula’s nontraditional to say the least.