Pete Kendall's Socio Times: A Socionomic Commentary

April 18, 2007
Hole Gets Deeper for Music Industry
Top 40 sales take a tumble
On the heels of a disastrous first quarter, music retail continues to lay an egg.
In a 32% slide from the same week a year earlier, the CD business saw 37 of the 38 holdovers in the top 40 post double-digit drops last week.

The only album to keep the dip to single digits (7%), Jennifer Lopez's "Como Ama una Mujer" (Epic), benefited from Lopez's appearance on "American Idol" the week before.

The week's bestseller was "Now! That's What I Call Music Vol. 24," which held on to the No. 1 slot for a second week. It sold 89,000 copies, a 58% drop from the previous week, according to Nielsen Soundscan. "Now! 24" has cumed 533,000; the 23rd volume of "Now!" sold 820,000 in its first three weeks of release.

This could be the week that "Idol" switched from driving album sales that net retailers $1-$7 per disc sold to driving individual digital downloads, which earn an Internet provider such as Apple's iTunes or Walmart.com 19¢-30¢.

The top 10 in 2006 for the middle week of April saw 1.854 million units sold, up from 1.123 million in '05. This year, the tally is 573,000.

HellYeah, a metal band, opened at No. 9. Their self-titled debut, released by Epic, sold 45,000 copies in the opening stanza.

While there are several acts with sales potential releasing albums within the next few weeks, it isn't until May 15 that there are two releases from acts capable of posting superstar numbers: Gretchen Wilson and Linkin Park.

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Music Faces the Plunging Sales and Harsh Edge of 2002
Category: NEWS
By: Pete Kendall, April 19, 2007
Music sales will slump.
The Elliott Wave Theorist, October 2003

What's going on here ? 32% is an enormous plunge.

Sounds about right for the next leg of the bear market. It’s yet to start, but the music plunge confirms that, when it does, it will not be a mild correction. It takes us back to September 2002 when the first leg of this decade’s bear market was finishing and The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast took note of musical sales decline that actually started in the late 1990s. As we recorded then, the decline should also be accompanied by a change in tone: “To deal with the worst decline in music sales since the 1970s, the music industry is pushing bands that sound ‘a lot like they’ve come from the ‘70s.’ On the airwaves now: a half-dozen Stones sound-alikes and a ringer for Neil Young.” One of the few strong debuts this past week was from the metal band HellYeah, which follows from our May 2006 entry.

Like every other reversing social trend associated with this peak, the new harsher, musical style is taking its time, but it continues to press closer to acceptance. One effort that should be offer a good measure of this trend's progress is Linkin Park’s May 15 release. Here’s what EWFF said about that band’s surprise success in the midst of the first leg of the bear market in early 2002: “Time magazine reports that a 'rap-metal fusion' album by Linkin Park ‘shocked the record industry by selling 4.8 million copies of its debut album.’ The band’s themes of ‘alienation, frustration and loneliness’ seem made to order for a post-bubble and a post-bubble gum world. A lot of the band’s lyrics could be titled ‘Ode to the NASDAQ’: ‘I tried so hard and got so far/but in the end it doesn’t even matter/I had to fall and lose it all.’” If it sticks to its original style, Linkin’s next release should suit the emerging trend. 

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