A few months ago I posted a rather naïve article about the ever-rising surge in the interest of vinyl and the implications this had for the music industry:
“The good news keeps on coming. According to the ERA, the vinyl market reached £5.4 million in 2012 while the first half of this year saw a 44% increase in independent record shop sales. Couple that with the news that music piracy has dropped a THIRD since last year… Damn. Surely things can only get even better?”
Err… No actually, that looks quite unlikely.
Although everybody suddenly became a Lou Reed fan in recent weeks (album sales increased by 607%… Louie’s death was certainly a ‘Perfect Day’ for the record companies) other pop star elites have been suffering on the dry and dusty end of the scales. As in they aren’t selling anything.
For all her twerking, smoking and merciless grasp of the sensitivities involved when communicating with people who suffered from mental illness, Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz slid down the charts like an unwanted, mortifying turd. Even Max Martin failed to work his magic with Katy Perry’s Prism:
“Last week US album sales, as measured since 1991 by Nielsen Soundscan, fell to a new low of 4.49m at the time of year when the industry typically rolls out its big acts before the holiday sales boom. Katy Perry’s No 1 album Prism sold less than 300,000 copies, but that was still more than the next eight titles combined – among them Pearl Jam and Drake.”
But hang on a minute here folks. How does this add up? Hannah Montana had a huge hit with Can’t Stop and Wrecking Ball. Katy Perry had an even bigger hit with Roar. Are the public so fickle that they’re only interested in one catchy song and a music video? Well yes, actually.
But what does this have to do with EDM? In this fast moving industry you’d be forgiven for thinking that the scene also suffers from the blight of accelerated consumerism. Interestingly, in the DJ Mag’s Top 100 article, the DJs were asked if they believed EDM to be the new pop music:
“It’s definitely on top of it’s game right now, and I think we’ve broken a lot of barriers in understanding the wide range of musical genres that can be included in the songwriting and production. We have to make sure it keeps changing or else people will get sick of it.”
(Avicii, DJ Mag Issue 527)
The world’s No. 3 knows what he’s talking about. His album True is a great hybrid mix of dance and a myriad of other genres. For the mp3 generation who can skim through someone’s entire discography in a matter of minutes, Avicii provided many catchy and diverse tunes, some of which completely slaughtered the charts. But his album sales however, unlike his pop rivals, correlate nicely:
“Avicii attacks Billboard’s Dance/Electronic Songs chart with six new entries from his new No. 1 on Dance/Electronic Albums, “True,” ranging from “Hey Brother” at No. 15 to “Heart Upon My Sleeve” at No. 49. Only Daft Punk has debuted more songs in a week (12, June 8).”
2013 has been pretty big for EDM releases. Disclosure too, have had great success this year:
“Disclosure’s debut album ‘Settle’ has gone straight to the top of the UK Album Chart. They faced stiff competition from Queens Of The Stone Age, who released their sixth album ‘…Like Clockwork’ on the same day, and despite being behind on sales earlier in the week, and only 50 copies separating the two albums by Thursday, the dance duo emerged almost 7,000 copies ahead of Josh Homme’s band by Saturday’s sales deadline.”
I could go on about even more great and successful releases of 2013 but we must get back to the original question – Are our albums suffering too? Are EDM and pop music really related? Is it all just hype and hyperbole?
Only time will tell how long this devotion and interest we all share will last. Perhaps those pop starlets could do with learning a thing or two from our namestays… You can swing on a wrecking ball all you want but it will always come down to the music. But maybe our namestays better not get comfortable in the strong position some of them hold.
All in all, I’m still pretty confident. Regardless of the fickleness of some.
“You put out these albums and in almost every case, the public moves on in a matter of weeks! A few bought it, they heard it, and they’re satisfied. The rest of the public is just waiting for a hit single … they’ll tap their toes and snap their fingers and ask, ‘What else have you got?'”