The tired argument goes, “new music just isn’t as good as the old stuff.” Now the tut-tutting grey-haired music critics may have data to back it up.
According to Nielsen Soundscan, which has been tracking album sales since 1991, old records have outsold new ones for the first time. They define “old” as albums released more than 18 months ago, or “catalog” records. These have moved 76.6 million units in 2012 compared to 73.9 million in current album sales.
But it’s probably not due to any value judgement between old and new music. Instead, Nielsen analyst David Bakula thinks it’s because record labels and retailers have dropped prices on their older catalogs, leading many consumers to either purchase them for the first time or buy digital copies to replace older media. It mirrors the rise in digital album sales, which stand 13.8% higher than this point last year.
Factor in the deaths of popular artists like Whitney Houston and catalog records easily beat newer ones. Curiously, Guns N’ Roses Greatest Hits tops the catalog sales charts currently, possibly due to the fact that there’s seemingly no way in hell the band will be reforming its original lineup any time soon. [Hypebot]