Katy Perry’s ‘Prism’ a Good Example of How Albums Don’t Work Anymore

Katy Perry

Media cannot be limited to the album release date. It must be a 24/7, 365-day-a-year effort

The album is dying in front of our very eyes.

In other words, what kind of screwed up world do we live in where Katy Perry’s new album “Prism” sells only 287,000 copies in its debut? One in which everybody’s interested in the single, and no one’s got time to sit and hear your hour-plus statement.

This is not emotion, this is statistics. The shelf life of news is shorter than ever. The shelf life of art. … You blink and it’s done.

I’m fine with you preaching to the choir, making an album for your fans. You gotta go where you wanna go, do what you wanna do. But if your plan is to increase your audience, spread the word and make money, suddenly the album just isn’t working anymore. The youngsters are streaming singles and the oldsters are staying home.

How do I know? Elton’s album isn’t even in the top 50, and McCartney’s album barely broke 20,000 this week, and there wasn’t a better oldster hype than for these two projects. People just don’t want ’em.

So what’s the industry to do? Have a rethink.

In other words, hype doesn’t work.

No one had more hype than Miley Cyrus, but “Bangerz” didn’t even sell 45,000 copies in its fourth week of release. She can go on “SNL,” tweet her life away, but it’s not moving the needle. Lorde is selling as much as Miley without the benefit of scorched earth, proving quality music is as good as hype. But Lorde isn’t burning up the chart either.

We’ve turned into a nation of grazers. And the artist’s job is to constantly be at the smorgasbord. Not to deliver one big meal that is picked at and thrown away, but to constantly provide tantalizing bites to the public.

Media cannot be limited to the album release date. It must be a 24/7, 365-day-a-year effort. Same with creativity. If your track gets traction, more power to you. If it doesn’t, go back in the studio and make more. In other words, if you’re sitting at home bitching that you’re not making any money because the Internet stole your business, you’re RIGHT! There are so many diversions that no one’s got time for mediocre anymore.

If you’ve got a concept album, go ahead and record it. If you’re only interested in selling a little, be my guest. But if you want to penetrate the consciousness of a large group of people and grow the pie, an album isn’t working. Hell, it’s not even working as a revenue model!

Labels are no longer in the record business, they’re in the star business. How to maximize the revenue of an individual or band in as many media as possible, in as many ways as possible. Yes, while you were bitching about piracy, your whole business model disappeared.

You put out these albums, and in almost every case, the public moves on in a matter of WEEKS. A few bought it, they heard it, and they’re satisfied — and left waiting for years until you grace them with a new release. The rest of the public is just waiting for a hit single to burble, and if it does, they’ll tap their toes and snap their fi ngers and ask, “WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT?” And what you’ve got had better be just as good as the hit.

No one wants album tracks anymore unless they’re every bit as satisfying as the hit.

So it’s not only classic rock acts who have stopped putting out albums; eventually, no one will do it. Oh, it won’t be soon, because artists think making albums is part of their DNA, going into the studio and making a 10-track statement.

But that’s like saying typewriters have to be an office fixture. And you can’t post online unless you write in multiple paragraphs. And texting must be abandoned because it’s not in-depth enough.

The goal of a musician is to be AHEAD of the audience. Right now everybody’s behind.

Read more Bob Lefsetz columns at Lefsetz.com.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 215


    Leave a Reply


    Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

    Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

    WordPress.com Logo

    You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

    Twitter picture

    You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

    Facebook photo

    You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

    Google+ photo

    You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

    Connecting to %s

    1. Lorne Curiie says:

      Serves the music industry right. The powers to be took away the creativeness of music and song writhing to 1 hit wonder 127 bpm thumping sex show. The thought process went from making music to how many dancers can we have nude in a video or show. There is no art in having a computer deciding if a song will be a hit based on rhythmic algorithms. Music has become as crap as everything else in this dumb down throwaway society, and music is not written by a heart but by a team corporate sellouts, who are only interested in $ signs and the next 1 hit x-factor voiced idol. Now that they have stupefied there audience into I need another fix, they are reaping what they sow. Bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Supertramp, took years of labor to create albums that stand the test of time, and span generations of fans, with melody, hooks, and rhythms that touch a persons inner soul, connecting that person with a memory, feeling and connection that lasts a life time. It is sad that that musical dedication is dying. The only good thing that music always revolts and reinvents itself as something fresh, and I can’t wait . Vive la Revolution!

    2. Jeff Curtis says:

      The problem is the Industry itself , there is great music out there it just doesn’t get Air Play!!! McCartney and Elton while not in their prime , god bless them for at least not resting on their Iconic status and past success .. McCartney has put out some decent solo records in the past few years … MTV used to show videos , radio stations weren’t all owned by the same company and DJ weren’t forced to play a set playlist .. The problem again is good music , isn’t being heard , the industry and media force feed .. You these cookie cutter “stars” like Gaga , Perry , Cyrus , Autotune or sample the music to death so it all sounds the same .. The youth aren’t exposed to a variety of music., there are no innovators like The Beatles , Hendrix , Bob Dylan , Even Rap and Country. Where are the NWA , Run Dmc , Public Enemy of Today? Where are the Johnny Cash , Willie Nelson’s , Blues , Rock, R&B ..Dance music etc .. Where’s the next Whitney , Aretha , Madonna ?

    3. Ben Neumann says:

      This is why my hometown Nashville is home to some of the world’s happiest musicians. Not the richest, not even close. But one’s who do it first cause they love it, and make albums because it’s what they were made to do. Contentment with creative community might be another way of saying it.

      As for the big album release on major lables, I don’t think it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Singles are the new album, especially if you can manage to feature a hip-hop artist on one. But 250,000 plus is still a lot. Granted, 10 years ago Eminem used to go platinum 10x on physical album sales, now he sells similair to Katy online. But it’s still a wide reach. It’s kind of de-plateau’d, if that makes sense. Significant drop, but still stable relative to a new technological environment.

      20 years from now, heck who knows.

    4. Robert W. Black says:

      At least it’s a solution. The problem has been identified.

    5. Chris Hall says:

      If you get someone with talent, albums work. Katy Perry’s newest album is pure crap. I was going to let my girls have it on their iPods after I previewed it first. It is garbage. Poorly written lyrics and throwback sounds of the early 80s “hit” music. Miley’s newest is in the same arena, but it has at least 2 decent songs on it. Cry me a river for autotune wonders.

    6. BB says:

      TV shows aren’t get the same Nelson Ratings as before either. The top show in 2000 had millions higher than the top show now and even more every decade back. The amount of people are decreasing because there is more things to watch. Just the same that the amount of record sales go down because there are more things to listen to and ways to obtain it. I’m not talking about stealing but if I can stream the album on spotify, share it on ipods with friends, hear it on the radio and gym – why would I buy the album? I might be watching TV other places, or later – same with albums. This is what the sales looks like now.

    7. I’m pretty sure Adele recently had an album scan over 10.5 million in the US on the back of just 4 singles, not all of which even had music videos. JT’s first 2013 release is still the highest selling album of the year at over 2 million, and he didn’t even have a big hit single this time around. Eminem’s new album is (once again) currently on track to sell about 750,000 copies in its first week. Drake just did over 600,000 the first week.

      Katy Perry’s albums don’t sell because she’s a vacuous pop act, people don’t take her seriously. They just cherry pick the singles on iTunes, as even young record buyers know her albums are phoned-in garbage packed with filler. Her first album has yet to hit 1.5 million in the US, despite featuring “I Kissed A Girl,” “Hot ‘N Cold,” “Thinking of You” and “Waking Up In Vegas.” On the flip side of things, which also destroys this entire article, both of the two most recent Black Keys albums have scanned almost as much even though “I Kissed A Girl” alone got more airplay and TV exposure then every one of the singles from ‘Brothers’ and ‘El Camino’ COMBINED.

      The bottom line is Katy struggling to shift albums despite being omnipresent is because her music is light, fun, in-the-moment pop and nothing more and music buyers know it. It’s not commentary on the state of the music industry.

    8. iggyc says:

      Albums dont work anymore because there are no more artists that can make albums full of great songs. If another “thriller” is recorded one day probably it’s gonna sell millions.

    9. Henry Mena says:

      MY GOD, WHEN IS LEFSETZ GOING TO STFU??!! He was a cog in “The Machine” for decades but once his 6-figure salary and accompanying expense account got taken away from him, he’s been taking every available opportunity to rail against the music biz, not out of righteousness but unending, unyielding spite. Enough already!
      His piece is full of fallacies: if you’re not selling you’re automatically mediocre; you’ve got to be pumping out singles at the same frequency as you update your blog to be relevant and make money; “heritage” acts don’t sell, etc. etc. etc. What we’re seeing is the end result from the loss of purchases by the casual music fan, ie, the person who owned less than 20 CDs back in the day. They’ll buy a single or acquire a “file share”. Furthermore, we have entered an era in which disposable entertainment is king. Do you want to indulge that by supporting a return to a time when the purpose of albums was to collect singles?
      Yes, the major labels are now more than ever star-making machines. But that’s not the entire industry. And what serious artist wants to “penetrate the consciousness of a large group of people” who won’t give 2 shits about you 10 mins. later? The idea is to cultivate an audience to stay with you for the long haul, not reel in a bunch of ADD, flavor-of-the-minute worshiping, non-fans.
      (I have a new album coming out Tuesday and I couldn’t be more thrilled. And I can tell the small amount of folks who follow me are sharing the love, so…)

    10. Scotty says:

      Y’all should go listen to Treybillie.com his album is what artists need to be doing its awesome- and 1 long as piece of art-if you don’t listen to the whole thing you are missing the point of the artwork! Aka album!!

    11. Bunky Boy says:

      Your blaming it on the media?
      How about the fact that it may be a series of no talents with no good songs being marketed by an industry that has no interest in support or development of artists.
      Ever wonder why the oldies market and the stars from that market still continue to outsell most younger artists?
      It may have more to do with the suck factor than the media it’s offered in.

    12. Jesse says:

      I think the issue here is more complicated with greyer areas- On one hand, you can say, “Well, albums aren’t selling en masse any more.” Sure, we’ll probably never again see the sales of records like the 70s and 80s giants enjoyed, when people sat down and listened to a record AS entertainment, and then waited with anticipation for the next release. People ARE more distracted than ever, with more and more media vying for attention with greater frequency.

      That said, there are PLENTY of bands making a very respectable living recording records and touring them (along with the obligatory single)- The Decemberists, Phoenix, Passion Pit, Walk the Moon, Temper Trap, Dream Theater, etc. etc. These bands (and many more) all have huge followings- not in a Michael Jackson/Madonna/Britney Spears way, but still numbering in the 10s (or 100s) of thousands, who turn out to pay admission, see their concert, buy their T-shirt and listen to their record.

      Keep in mind as well, population is growing, in the US and around the world; there are more and more individuals with diverse interests, musical and otherwise. You simply can’t reach everyone. In 1975, the US population was about 216 million. Now, it’s over 317 million! So right now in the US alone, an artist has 100 million MORE people they need to try to reach with their music than Led Zeppelin at the height of their popularity. What this all boils down to is: an artist that sells 100,000 record in 2013 may not have the same social impact or ‘hype’ as an artist who sold that many records in 1975…but it’s still 100,000, and those fans are still supporting that artist with their attention and dollars.

    13. Vlad Davydov says:

      I believe that music album is a reach artistic msg. I believe, that singles (and streaming) are good for discovery, while albums are good for storytelling and finding true fans and followers. I see, that music had become a commodity for a large part of the audience, a “snackable content”, like tweets. I believe that there are many musicians and fans out there, who’s communication is through and around the music album. I know that the attention span had shrunk, I feel that streaming turned music into an audio wallpaper, made it materially and visually detached from the musician. I see that all communication had become very visual and it demands a lot of creativity and co-lab from musicians and crosses over to the visual artist joining the game.
      I’m in the music business and I’m biased. I’m obsessed with re-creating a music album as a way to tell a story for musician, as a great and convenient experience for an aficionado fan and a profitable bundle for the music industry. Mobile had become dominant, but album hadn’t.
      This is why me and my friends developed a music album as an app for a mobile phone, which allows for sonic, visual and lyrical storytelling.
      Its very social, combats the “ADD”, extends the attention span and gives a better chance for an interested person dig deeper into artistic msg and be exposed to the music and thus – better chance to understand, feel and resonate with the music. A fan finds a lot of unique content and information in it, i.e detailed credits, visual art and stories from the artist. We already have 24 albums released already and we have daily signups now, artist, who wanted to be heard by the right audience are excited to release their albums with us. Artists are getting used to the format, start understanding the value and compete with each other in an audiovisual storytelling and we see a lot of positive feed back from both artists and fans.

      I’d love to see your comments about it, should you like to explore it, its called 3plet and is available on AppStore, Google Play and Windows Marketplace.

    14. Miro Gee says:

      There is a huge difference between quality music and exceptional music. People love music. They can live without smoking, but not without music. Katty Perry, Miley Ciprus and Lorde is not an exceptional music. I don’t see why you’re so sceptic…

    15. The problem with K Perry’s new project is that, it’s not as good as her last (Stellar) project (Teenage Dream) which garnered more than 4 top ten #1 hits.. Her production team ( Dr Luke) are being pulled in many directions ($Keisha, Miley Cyrus, and many others), that when they circled back around to Katy, the “well” was dry..

      Her fans have come to want , up-tempo, funky, disco(ish) with some quirky additives thrown in..This latest project has none of the above.

    16. Definitely directed at pop music. In the top 40 radio industry, albums are only a collection of an artists singles. i.e. on Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream”, 6/12 songs were top radio singles. On Bruno Mars’ “Doo-wops & Hooligans”, 6/10 songs were radio hits. The single is what makes the money. Digital downloads, commercial useage, ringtones, etc. all based off of one artist’s song is what makes the big bucks. A pop album only keeps the artist relevant, it doesn’t do much besides be a containment for “real” songs, or the ones that actually matter (whichever ones make it on the radio). Most of today’s radio hits aren’t even written by the artist, themselves. 3rd party song writers write it, while the artist performs and gets the credit.

      Anything other than top 40, for the most part, is album-based. Fans get excited when an artist announces a new album. Fans discuss which song on the album is best, and why. People watch behind the scenes videos and interviews about the album, because the band/artist put work into the creation of the album, not just individual singles.

      In pop music, the single promotes the artist. In most other genres, the artist promotes the album.

    17. aaron says:

      I think this says more about pop music than albums as a whole.

    18. hulolo says:

      Meanwhile my boy Eminem is killing it with his new album, selling almost 800K copies first week. That’s quality music.

    19. Hernshmert says:

      Lorde is “quality music” while Bangerz is all “hype?” The fuck? I don’t appreciate either very much but at least Bangerz has a good variety of actually decent music! Lorde’s music is a farce – it’s terrible, terrible stuff and I hate it when people try to promote it as being better than the rest of the pack. Stop with the bullshit guys – Lorde is bad, Perry is OK, Gaga is losing it (Applause was mediocre at best) and Miley at least makes half decent music, even if people don’t like her on-screen appearances.

    20. MBK says:

      Katy Perry’s “Roar” music video has garnered nearly 200 million You Tube views; the lyric version another 60 million. Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” has over 300 million views (original and director’s cut), and two parodies an aggregate of 20 million more. There’s no question that a sizable audience is interested in these acts and their music as entertainment. The challenge is converting interest into income.

      Only a small fraction of the contemporary music audience is compelled to purchase music in recorded form. Fewer by far will buy an album, which — except for diehard fanbases like Eminem’s — is indeed an outmoded consumer construct in the digital era, regardless of musical genre.

      Digital music products have zero real value to most contemporary music consumers. They don’t hesitate, however, to spend increasingly escalating amounts to see their favorite performers in person and to memorialize these experiences with merchandise. Context determines the value of musical content. Transform the music into an event, a t-shirt, or a branding tool, and the money flows.

      Live performance (optimally sponsored), merchandising, and licensing for use in advertising, television, motion pictures, and theatrical productions are the viable revenue streams in the modern music business model. The future of digital music assets is in monetizing ongoing recontextualization, creatively reframing the value of the music experientially in as many ways as possible.

    21. pasquale says:

      what about closing down spotify and all that stupid shit that is ruining the market, ruining musicians life and everything that is behind?

      • lesles92 says:

        Spotify isn’t ruining. At least then they are making money per play. Personally I use Spotify at least 5 hours a day throughout work, commute, and leisure background music. It is how I find out what songs I like and which artists. And they get paid per play. It might not be a lot, but if I like a song, they’ll get 5 plays out of me a day.

        • Todd Madson says:

          As an artist whose music is actually on Spotify I do agree that the payback in terms of monetary compensation per play is very slim however, people who’ve randomly discovered my music thru that service seem to be buying my last release. It’s the only way I can possibly explain sales in countries I’ll never get to play (most likely) in my lifetime. And those sales take place at times when there is a spike in the plays on Spotify. So it’s not all black and white, not all bad, not all good.

        • Math Genius says:

          @Jeremey True – Your math is very very wrong. 100 plays at 1 cent is a dollar… NOT 10,000!

        • Jeremy True says:

          if you actually LIKE an artist and want them to keep going, you could buy their album… or at least the singles you play every day. it’s usually about a dollar per song, unless you get an album, where the package deal makes each song a bit cheaper. at high artist Spotify rates of $.04 a play (At best) you’d have to play that song 250 times for that artist to make a dollar. so if you’re able to listen to the song 4 times every day for 4 months, then the artist can be paid 2 dollars and buy a cup of coffee, or some Top Ramen and a soda. and if they’re a lesser known artist, they can make as little as $.01 a stream. which means for Spotify to pay them a dollar you need to play their song 10,000 times. which if you just leave it on that one song on repeat, alll day and night, you might be able to play their track 333 times a day, for one month, to give an artist you “like” a dollar. if you want to “favor” an artist, buy their track, don’t just play them on Spotify, it’s really not going to help them out. (in the meantime the Spotify execs alone made 45 million dollars last year, while their company lost over 25 million. seems like a good business model!

    22. the dude abides says:

      “In other words, what kind of screwed up world do we live in where Katy Perry’s new album “Prism” sells only 287,000 copies in its debut?”

      The kind of world where people don’t give a shit about Katy Perry anymore.
      Nothing of value was lost here.

    23. legallyfm says:

      Clearly this blogger has not heard the Marshall Mathers LP 2. In fact this blogger doesn’t think Eminem really exists because all his albums (with the exception of The Slim Shady LP and if you want to count Infinite) have debuted at #1 and regardless of how controversial each album has been, all are great storytelling through rap (yes even Relapse did that). So I’d do my homework before I’d write article likes this.

      Although true about Katy Perry, her albums are too disjointed and don’t really connect, just a collection of singles, potential singles and whole lot of music that should have been on a B-side

    24. JayDee says:

      This is a terrible article… biased writing that leads to misinformation. I like how he failed to mention how Justin timberlake sold 968,000 copies of 20/20 Experience in it’s first week alone, along with Eminem who just recently debuted The Marshall Mathers LP 2 with 792,000 copies. Good job at only mentioning low-end albums sales. I also like how he completely downplayed online piracy/free streaming as having any effect on album sales… UNC suggests that up to 65% of music acquired today is through some sort of illegal piracy, and that study was done in 2010-11. Also comparing the sales of singles vs. albums is asinine… It’s pretty easy to predict something that costs a dollar and change will sell more than something over 10 times that. The art of the album is not dead and will never be… the only variable is how that art is distributed.

    25. Sconesy Cider says:

      Albums aren’t dead; compact discs that cost $12 are dead

    26. Noah Fence says:

      Record labels. There’s the problem. Greedy whores trying to sell a three course meal based on the starter alone! Once we tasted the main meal we realized we had been duped. They served us boiled potatoes and thin gravy, no meat. We decided to go get our food elsewhere.

    27. PP says:

      This is narrow-minded, grandiose, half-baked, and contradictory writing. And as Vince points out, it applies only to pop music, and I’d add that it applies only to a pretty cynical and passionless perspective of it.

      If Lorde, an artist from NZ, is selling as much as Miley Cyrus’s latest release with her first album, isn’t that a victory for album sales? You seem confident that if Elton John’s and McCartney’s albums didn’t merit high sales, that nobody will. I’m not so sure. (Also, by the way, if the “oldsters are staying home”, which is a ridiculous assumption, wouldn’t that be the best conditions for album-listening?)

      “So it’s not only classic rock acts who have stopped putting out albums”

      — I’m not sure that “classic rock” means what you think it means, but there are plenty of artists and bands from plenty of genres who are putting out well-received, money-making albums.

      “Media cannot be limited to the album release date. It must be a 24/7, 365-day-a-year effort. Same with creativity. If your track gets traction, more power to you. If it doesn’t, go back in the studio and make more”

      — Isn’t it possible that the “24/7, 365-day a year effort” you call for is the reason why pop artists release music that the public gets bored with “in a matter of WEEKS”? Is it possible that the lacking depth and longevity in ‘singles’ has something to do with the same pressures to produce you seem to be demanding? And, isn’t it possible that for some musicians (even “pop” musicians), album sales isn’t the top priority?

      “The goal of a musician is to be AHEAD of the audience. Right now everybody’s behind”

      — I think THE goal of a musician is to HAVE an audience. If they’re not interested, they can bow out anytime.

    28. DG says:

      Nope. Disgusting. Music is dead.

    29. Vince Ochoa says:

      I feel like this is only for pop music.

    30. James Popik says:

      That’s all fine but it costs time and money to continually record and promote. If people don’t value the music by paying for it, it will indeed go away. Is that what you want?

    31. Brian Wilson says:

      Hey bob, you made some great points and i’m almost in agreement with you except…

      Electronic artists are already ahead of you. No i’m not talking about the one note anthems ruining festivals and clubs. I mean true artists spanning multiple genres such as Kastle, AWE, Destroid, phonat and many others that have been playing the EP vs LP game for years and have realized that making money is about selling shows. The best way to sell shows? EPs featuring mostly tracks that you can dance to with one or two songs that challenge the creative process and reveal a bit about the artist’s style. While an artist may from time to time knock out a full concept LP, the idea of making an
      11 track LP is staggering for most producers thus the only people making LPs now are old farts expanding on an idea they’ve had for a while and newcomers looking to tell their first story. These artists then either go on tour or get booked as regional or national acts which helps pay the bills. I’m not saying that albums are no longer a viable way to engage would be concert goers. What I am saying is that the amount of time and money spent on an LP is usually though not always, better spent on scouting places where you want to build your audience. The problem with most of these big name artists is that they think they’re above playing in some dive where the waitress has MOST of her teeth but I can tell you right now If Katy Perry started popping up in random bars and charged a cover of 10 dollars she’d probably make enough to hire a new lyricist.

    32. thorpedoed says:

      Well, Bob Lefsetz, you wrote an excellent piece. Read through all the excellent comments made by the posters on this thread. There’s one valid point after another on here made by a lot of smart people. Getting a lot of media attention on all the right shows that not guarantee a hit album. Young consumers are so savvy when choosing what to spend their money on in an economy like we have today, especially American tweens, teens, and 20 yr. olds. Albums have to be basically flawless in order to warrant a sale with this group, otherwise technology now allows for today’s young people to make their own flawless cd from the comfort of home. Media blitzes no longer cut it for the average singer. Taking a cue from my own teen, “you’ve got to be the TRUTH,” if you want to sell albums like the Elvis Pressley, Michael Jackson, Beetles, and endless MOTOWN phenoms of the past. There are an array of acts out there being outrageous and stupid in hopes of spurring on album sales and sold out concert venues. They fell to realize today’s young consumer is very savvy, and want substance over garbage. For that, I am very proud of the average young American consumer. We need our children to be smart consumers and not suckered in by any piece of trash.

    33. Dan says:

      Adele? anyone….

    34. Josh says:

      They can only do two things: release the album for super cheap, like $5, with a digital download and a DVD and maybe a book or photo album, stuff you can’t get by just downloading. Give a reason to buy albums again, keeping in mind everyone can get them for free if they really wanted to. Or, tour your ass off and give your album away for free. As long as a digital version can be made, people will always have the option of getting an album for free – how are you going to compete with that?

    35. most of the poptarts mentioned in this article aren’t artists so that’s your first problem right there. i’m glad things are going bad for them. best news here in a long while

    36. betty says:

      It doesn’t help that prices for cd’s have bascically stayed the same sine the 1980’s. Prices like $12.99- 16.99 are the norm for one disc? Really? We all know it cost little to make compared to the price being sold. Top prices should be $9.99 at the very most. The industry killed itself because for greed. Stupid!

      • Stuee says:

        That’s good isn’t it? Is anything else still the same price it was in the ’80s? No, everything else costs way more now. I believe it’s called inflation. Yet, weirdly, inflation hasn’t affected what musicians are paid for live work – I’m still getting paid the same for a pub gig as I was 25 years ago.

        Also, what it costs to manufacture the CD is totally irrelevant. You are not buying a blank CD, the CD is just the medium, in the same way that paper is the medium for literature. People don’t complain that a book only costs 25p to print but sells for £12.99 (made up figures, just making a point).
        You are paying for the music, for the art, for the entertainment, for the long, multistage, very expensive and expert process of writing & producing the recordings on the CD, for the right to play it whenever you want, and for the sustenance of the artist who made it so that he/she/they can afford to write & record more great music. And, God forbid, so that the artist may make a decent living from their lifelong devoted craft & nurturing of their talent. How dare they make a profit?!! :-/

    37. ss says:

      Katy Perry is a celebrity, not a musician. I’m more interessed in her cheating with Robert Pattinson behind Kristen Stewart’s back than in her so called music.

    38. biskits says:

      So we’re just gonna pretend that Eminem didnt sell 800 000 albums this past week?

    39. Sarah says:

      Why would you buy the whole album when there is only one song that you like?

    40. CC Martin says:

      My background and opinion is with country music. I have not listened to the album mentioned in this article, however I think I know what part of the problem is. Most music today only focuses on a weekend night. I don’t hear any songs that make folks “think”. Think about this. As much as you love Christmas music, how long can you stand it. That is all the “gate keepers” let get through. THE SAME OLD STORY LINE OVER AND OVER AND OVER 365 days a year 7 days a week. So why would you want to listen over and over? There are 5 days a week most folks don’t go crazy and party. What are they supposed to listen to on those days. Most new songs have great intruments and no story or emotion besides a heck yea. Yea it sells, people will always party. And then they are back to their real life. Where are those songs? I’m not knocking the guys writing and singing this stuff, but PLEASE give us some VARIETY…The music business would turn upside down to know how many listeners are bored with the content available, but its all they have to listen to. It has so little to do about the song, the music, or the people listening. It’s about what else the song is selling. As an artist that’s trying to make it sounds a little discouraging. Then again if I was worried about the odds I would have quit already. Will it ever change? I hope so. Dream Big!

    41. katy perry ? she maybe popular, but imo not her music, it is over rated … that is why her album did not sell

    42. Lara says:

      Right on.

      We are behind, and for years, record sales haven’t been an accurate way to track true credibility or popularity anyway. Everyone knows that record company owners will purchase thousands upon thousands of their artist’s own record just to inflate these statistics.

    43. Cory Frye says:

      Oh, it’s just a Lefsetz column. I thought it may have been a legitimate story.

    44. gutwrenchingtruth says:

      No. The album didn’t “die” – Pop music is dying. Formulated trash in a packaged form is dying. Music made from a non-musicians standpoint is dying. A “marketable image” artist that sings is dying. The days where a sucky wannabe musician that gives 90% image and 10% music is dying.

      People are sick of what they are being fed on the radio. That era of paying for audio microwave music is dying.

      but of course, the arrogance of the music industry doesn’t “get it” or want to acknowledge that so they equate it to the “album” itself dying. Cool. Believe what you want to believe.. as long as it quickens your downfall and the industry falls to pieces beyond repair, I’m happy.

    45. J Adams says:

      I dunno. I mean her music is enjoyable enough but she always struck me as the kind of artist who is fueled by marketing departments and corporate radio more than the album as an art form kind of artist. She’ll be fine once Clear Channel or Cumulus gives her some airplay.

    46. This was obviously written before we saw the EMINEM numbers…

    47. Deezy says:

      Eminem just sold over 700k records. Her album sucks, that’s why it didn’t sell.

    48. Carlos Shabo says:

      Anyone ever think that “Roar” is a terrible song and the first single in the most important one? shes lucky to have sold that much.

    49. Chris says:

      Adele’s recent album disproves this article

    More Biz News from Variety