With the continuing decline in record sales and the bubble beginning to burst in the live scene, the music industry is really staring into the abyss - so goes the belief of a considerable amount of critics, insiders, musicians and others who work within the business. The UK market for albums shrinking 5.6% in 2011 seemed to be just another fact to add to the damning proof. It comes as somewhat of a surprise then to discover that in the US, the largest market for music in the world, retailers have recorded rising album sales for the first time since 2004.
Reuters reports that the reason for the upturn in sales was probably due to the new, cheaper, CD prices as well as the ongoing revival of the vinyl market for the boutique consumer. All this has led to an increase of 1.4% in sales through 2011 from 2010. Physical sales of CDs remained poor, slipping 6%, but they were more than compensated for by a 20% rise in digital purchases (the overall digital market rising 8.5%) whilst vinyl, though still a fraction of the overall album market, jumped from 2.8 million to 3.9 million copies.
The overall numbers then are that album sales are up to 330.6 million units from 326.2 million in 2010, nothing to be cracking open the champagne open about, and a figure certainly aided by the phenomenal success of Adele's '21' which sold 5.82 million copies in the country, but it's certainly a brief respite for an industry that fully admits it's in turmoil.