2012 Was Officially Awful For The Music Industry

We can sum up just how awful the music industry with two factoids:

1) Adele has officially had the number one album for the year in the US for two years straight. This is the first time this has happened since SoundScan started keeping records in 1991.

2) Despite this, she couldn’t crack the top twenty top-grossing artists of 2012.

As you might guess, the portmortem for 2012 in the music industry just gets uglier from here.

2011 saw a slight uptick in album sales, but 2012 quickly pummeled that ray of hope into oblivion.

A total of 316 million albums were sold in 2012, down 4 percent for the year. Sales of CD’s were down by 13.5 percent, but full album downloads gained 14 percent, to a new high of 118 million. About 37 percent of albums are now bought digitally, while the CD continues to fade: its sales have declined 75 percent since 2000.

Adele topped the chart with 4.4 million copies of 21 sold. You might remember it came out in 2010.

So, what can the record industry sell? Digital downloads and vinyl. The record industry moved 1.3 billion digital downloads in 2012. Needless to say, Somebody That I Used To Know by Goatse Gotye was the number one single, closely followed by Carly Rae Jepsen’s introspective art-rock classic, and Fun. had the third-place single with We Are Young.

To give you an idea of how fractured the music industry now is, between those three, they add up to roughly .15% of all songs sold.

But, hey, vinyl is selling better than it ever has, so hipsters will continue to tell you how they only listen to music on vinyl and yet suspiciously are familiar with every pop song that hits the charts.