The State of Record Sales In 2015

Toronto, ON, Canada / 102.1 the Edge

The record industry is like a shark. It has to keep moving forward lest it sink and drown. That means it needs to keep cranking out new hit records to go along with their back catalogue of old records—which, of course, they work very hard at keeping alive.

But the main point of the record industry is to make sure that catalogue repertoire gets bigger by cranking out more new hits every single year. And for decades, that’s always been the case.

Not in 2015, though.

Looking at US figures for the year, new releases sold 118.5 million copies. Back catalogue albums sold 122.8 million. Sales of both old and new records have been on a downward trajectory for more than a decade, but this is the first time in history that people bought more old records than new ones. I wonder what that says about us and how we view and consume today’s new music?

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