New Records Eclipsed by Old Records in Sales for First TimePosted by Cameron LaFlam
The music industry has experienced a surprising reversal in record sales: for the first time, new releases sold poorer than veteran albums. That is, at least since Nielsen Soundscan started monitoring U.S. record sales in 1991.
Pictured above, Guns N’ Roses Greatest Hits is one of the best-selling catalog records in the first two quarters of 2012. Catalog records are music releases that came out 18 months ago or more. Whitney Houston‘s discography has also been a top-seller, experiencing a surge of sale success since her passing.
A number of potential variables could account for this historic change. According to David Bakula, an analyst for Nielson Soundscan, the continual drop in prices for catalog records is the biggest single reason for increased sales. While brand new CDs still sell for between $13-18, older albums are frequently made available at half that price.
Despite the affordability of older classics and forgotten musical treasures, music store owners are wary of similarly docking prices on new records. Sonic Boom (the Ballard located record store) owner Jason Hughes says, “as you lower the price of the CD, you’re lowering the value of someone’s art…” thereby defending the rationale for maintaining reasonable prices for fresh releases.