Have you ever moved 12.5 million units of anything? Music? Dollars? Grains of rice? Almost certainly not. Do you agree that this is a lot and if you were to move this many units in music, it’s a good success, right?
Well, apparently, if you’re the music business, moving an extra 12.5 million units is a sign that the business is all but over. Huh? Say whut? The reason is because that 12.5 million units was in digital downloads and was representative of a 1% increase from 2009 to 2010 in digital downloads. Everyone from Forrester Research to Reuters to local PBS stations has been sounding the death knell for the format. When looked at against 13% and 28% increases the previous year, there is indeed reason to be concerned about growth opportunities in the format. But let’s be honest, when you get to 1.1 BILLION transactions of anything (including downloads), the curve for large percentage increases becomes very difficult.
But something funny happened on the way to the download’s death bed. It grew. So far this year, digital downloads have increased 10% and added nearly 44 million downloads to last year’s total. In less than half the year, we’ve already had 3x more growth than all of last year. Adding over 2 million units a week of anything is certainly not a business in decline.
This is happening largely because more songs are being made with the Futurehit mindset in their vision. While there are nearly 1/3 more titles that have sold over 1 million units so far, the Top 30 collectively is only up 7.6% in total unit sales. This means a somewhat wider breadth of songs are selling in decent numbers. When you add in growth in on-demand video streaming and even subscriptions,
The singles market has yet to hit a ceiling. The opportunities to make a hit single succeed when following the new rules of the digital landscape is still large. Don’t sit around waiting for that album to be done. Accept the marketplace where over a billion transaction take place and still grows.