In fact, one of the reasons I started this blog was to review CD's and get people excited about the album format again.
Sadly, while I seem to get respectable hits, the pattern of comments from the same handful of people (even when I tried giving away CD's it did not change) would indicate that I was not very successful in my mission.
Don't get me wrong you faithful who stop by and comment-I appreciate your interest and your words-but I'd hoped to reach a wider audience and have failed at that.
And here we are, coming towards the end of another year, still discussing the viability of the album format.
As Kasim Sulton (Todd Rundgren, Utopia, Meat Load, Joan Jett, Scandal) readies his latest solo effort for release, he has indicated that this will be the last one. Other artists have said similar things, and a simplistic analysis of unit sales would seem to indicate that the album is breathing its last.
Since 2000, album sales have fallen in every year but one (2004) and physical unit sales have gone from 785 million to 194 million. Digital albums have made up some of the losses at 118 million units, but that's still leaving album sales at 60% lower levels than their peak.
But that peak was unrealistic. Album sales are only down 49% from 1994 levels, and only 15% lower than 1975 levels.
Keep in mind that during the CD era, the record labels were selling catalog titles in record numbers alongside new titles as listeners rushed to upgrade their LPs to CD. And the labels exploited that frenzy, with one CD reissue campaign after another (how many copies of Dark Side Of The Moon can one person buy? I can tell you if you really want to know).
But even in this age of iTunes and single-song purchases, 42% of Americans purchased a CD last year, and another 21% purchased a digital album.
And in a very interesting trend, the number of teens who purchased digital albums last year decreased, while teens who purchased physical CD increased (see the graph below).
Add all of this up, I don't know what you get. Even Billboard, the trade magazine, tells the story both ways (the album is doomed, there's still hope).
But it would seem that the rumors of the album format's death are greatly exaggerated.
As you shop this holiday season, why not consider getting someone the gift of an album on CD or vinyl LP?
And while you're at it, why not get one for yourself?
Do you still buy albums? What's the last one you purchased?