After 10 years since Apple released the iPod, CD sales are up for the second year. As MP3 downloads, economic hardships, and illegal file sharing affected the sales of CDs, there were a lot of questions regarding the future of music and the recording industry as a whole. Bands we love were forced to tour more than previous years to compensate for the lack of CD sales, music stores were closed down and store shelves were full of unsold CDs. Now the industry is seeing a rise in CD sales once again and showing promise for the future of CDs and the artists.
2nd Year Sales Increase:
In 2011 CD sales increased by 2% reaching 78 million consumers. Along with their increase, music downloads increased 14%, reaching 45 million customers. This shows that CDs are still outselling music downloads. The total increase for music sales as a whole was 4% as consumers are starting to buy music again. These increases are the result of a variety of reasons.
With so many music services available, such as Pandora, Yahoo Radio, and Rhapsody, consumers are exposed to music more now than ever. As smartphones, tablets, and other devices offer the ability to stream music, customers have the ability to listen to music anywhere and everywhere. This puts a song into their heads and they are now starting to purchase the albums.
In addition to the music exposure, large Peer to Peer networks, such as Limewire, have been shut down; putting an end to a majority of illegal music downloads. Without the ability to download their favorite albums or tracks for free, they are forced to purchase the music.
Another factor in the increase of sales is the presence of Baby Boomers and other consumers who prefer the quality of uncompressed audio that CDs offer versus the lesser quality MP3s they can purchase from iTunes or Amazon. As audio players, speakers and headphones increase in quality, music lovers are choosing the best playback quality they can get, which is still CD.
Recently there have been better quality artists releasing better quality music. Adele, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and Pitbull are just a few of the artists that are topping the charts and bringing consumers back to the CD racks.
Digital Copy and CDs:
One marketing strategy that has also helped with the increase in sales is the addition of digital copy when a CD is purchased. With the increase in use of portable devices, offering a digital copy of the tracks allows the consumer to put an MP3 version on their portable players to enjoy on the go, while still having the CD for home or car use.
This was a tactic that was also included with DVD and Blu-Ray movies to help increase sales and has proven to be successful. Offering the option for a digital copy gives consumers more value and more options. Now a customer can take their music or movies with them while on the go, while still being able to enjoy the full quality of the media while at home.
The industry is doing what they can to keep CDs alive as they cost more than digital downloads. The average CD costs $14 for newly released albums, where digital downloads average .99 for a track and $4 for an entire album. The industry hopes the increase in sales continues and the music industry of the past returns to its previous glory, giving them the ability to continue to entertain music lovers and keep the hits coming.
Marc Sjovic is a technology blogger who writes for cdduplication.org where you can find tips and info on CD duplication.