More People Buying Crappier Music

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 8, 2007 9:44PM

The Sun-Times ran an AP wire story today that's mostly good news with a sprinkle of bad news for lovers of music, though that depends on your persepctive.

2007_01_headphones.jpgOverall, music sales were up for the year 2006. While sales of physical albums declined 4.9 percent, digital album sales doubled, and sales of digital singles increased 65 percent.

What’s refreshing about this story is that it doesn’t feature any dunderheaded analysis (or fulminating quotes from industry execs) blaming downloading for the decrease in the sales of physical product. Of course, this is only because 2006 was the year that all record companies finally got wise to the idea that people weren't insisting on getting their music for free, they just wanted it on their own terms.

Moreover, the music industry also looked for other ways to promote itself, particularly on television with many just-signed indie label artists finding themselves with national exposure on shows like "Grey's Anatomy," "Six Degrees" and others targeting that yupster demographic. We knew the old rules were out the window the minute Prince showed up on "American Idol."

Future sales look rosy too with Forbes saying digital sales will "more than double" in the next five years."

The only bad news is for music snobs. The Beatles and Johnny Cash came in at #5 and #2, respectively, on the list of top-selling artists. No surprise or quibble there. Carrie Underwood's presence at #4 is no real surprise since country music always sells well (see Tim McGraw at #6 and Keith Urban at #9) and that American Idol boost cannot be denied. But Nickelback at #3 is just too much too bear. And can anyone explain why Rascal Flatts is at #1? You can return to our country music argument if you like, but we don't even know anyone who buys their records (sadly, we know far too many people who buy Nickelback records, and this is why we are glad Christmas only comes once a year).

Also, since the Dixie Chicks have come in at #9 on the best-selling albums of 2006, will this be enough to put an end to the constant talk of how they took such a commercial hit for speaking out against the President?