“Black Friday” Not So Great for Music Industry


mojo-photo-albumsales.jpg

Is that still an “industry,” even? Billboard is pointing out that while many retail sectors are breathing a sigh of relief after post-Thanksgiving weekend sales rose slightly, the world of music you pay for didn’t do so well. First up, high profile album releases from Guns N’ Roses and Kanye West both underperformed expectations, with G N’ R’s Chinese Democracy selling around 250,000 copies (compared to expectations of 300-700K), and Kanye’s 808s and Heartbreak moving 425,000-450,000 units (while many expected double that). Maybe people just don’t like those albums? Unfortunately, it looks like music sales in general suffered as well: stores like Barnes & Noble and Wal-Mart showed declines of up to 40% compared to last year.

Online retailer iTunes doesn’t release specific sales figures (although big discounts on Apple merchandise over the weekend might suggest there are more people out there to buy their music now). ITunes did give out a list of the biggest-selling albums and singles of the year, though, with Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and Leona Lewis’ “Bleeding Love” taking the respective top spots. A representative for Coldplay estimated at least 25% of their 2,000,000 US sales came through iTunes. Here are the full Top 10s:

Albums
1. Coldplay – Viva la Vida
2. Jack Johnson – Sleep Through the Static
3. Various – Juno OST
4. Lil Wayne – Tha Carter III
5. Sara Bareilles – Little Voice
6. Various – Once OST
7. Various – Across the Universe OST
8. Jason Mraz – We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things
9. OneRepublic – Dreaming Out Loud
10. Leona Lewis – Spirit

Singles
1. Leona Lewis – “Bleeding Love”
2. Coldplay – “Viva La Vida”
3. Flo Rida – “Low”
4. Katy Perry – “I Kissed a Girl”
5. Rihanna – “Disturbia”
6. Rihanna – “Don’t Stop the Music”
7. Lil Wayne – “Lollipop”
8. Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown – “No Air”
9. Sara Bareilles – “Love Song”
10. Natasha Bedingfield – “Pocketful of Sunshine”

Hmm. Well, I guess the Lil Wayne album is pretty good, and that Juno soundtrack has Sonic Youth on it. Focus on the positive!

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

Share your feedback: We’re planning to launch a new version of the comments section. Help us test it.