85% Of Music Sucks!



Thirteen million songs
and counting…


By Fred Mills



That headline is right: according a study conducted by
non-profit royalty collection agency in the U.K., the MCPS-PRS Alliance, only a
small percentage of music ever gets sold, which would suggest that the rest of
it, ah, sucks.



Guardian, reporting on the study,
cites the agency’s researchers Will Page and Andrew Bud and the following chunk
of statistics:



“Of the 13million songs available for sale on the internet
last year, more than 10million failed to find a single buyer….80% of all
revenue came from about 52,000 tracks – the “hits” that powered the
music industry. Broken down by album, only 173,000 of the 1.23m available
albums were ever purchased – leaving 85% without a single copy sold.”


The researchers concluded that “these findings challenge the “long
tail” theory
that diverse, specialised items – though individually
less popular – will together outsell mainstream ‘hits’… People believed in a
fat, fertile long tail because they wanted it to be true. The statistical
theories used to justify that theory were intelligent and plausible. But they
turned out to be wrong. The relative size of the dormant ‘zero sellers’ tail
was truly jaw-dropping.”


If this is all true, of course, it means all of us rock writers better
unload the thousands of crap promo
CDs we got in the mail this year, and pronto. If the used record stores get
wind of this study, we’re screwed.




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