New music is dead. Long live new mus – ah, who the hell am I kidding?
For the first time in recent memory, cataloged music – which the music industry defines as anything over 18 months old – outsold current releases during 2015. Leading the way for the old music brigade were the physical formats – CDs and yes, vinyl LPs. The largest seller of LPs? Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Beatles’ Abbey Road and Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue.
What? you may ask. Even with Adele’s 25? Well, Adele’s album sold a whopping 7.44 million copies, or 6.3% of the entire new music sold during 2015. If it weren’t for Adele, the margin would have been much bigger.
Current releases still outsold the catalog in digital albums, but catalog outsold new music when it came to individual digital tracks.
What does all this mean? Obviously, I’d like to think that people are finally thumbing their nose at today’s music, but 18 months isn’t a long time. Hell, all of KanYe’s albums would be considered cataloged music. But it does show that people aren’t responding as quickly to a new release as they used to. People are being more patient, waiting to buy an album until they know what its legacy will be.
And it just might be that people are preferring older music. More research will probably be forthcoming, but perhaps nostalgia is enticing people to listen to the music of their youth, which always seems to be better than subsequent generations of music.