Tuesday, November 05, 2002

MORE ON COMSCORE: comScore Networks have finally got around to putting their press release about the decline in music sales online online, and it's kind of interesting reading - "“The music industry attributes the decline in online and offline music sales to a variety of factors, such as a slow economy, fewer hit songs, piracy, CD-burning and file-swapping among others,” said Peter Daboll, division president of comScore Media Metrix, a division of comScore Networks." Well, actually, I've not heard a single music executive and certainly nobody from the RIAA or the BPI claim that there are "fewer hit songs" about - probably because the reverse is true. For a start, in any given week there are always going to be the exact same number of hit songs - although sometimes you wish Mark Goodier would come on and say "Due to the rubbish nature of the lower end of the chart, this week there's only going to be a Top 17", that never happens. Indeed, what the trend has been for the last few years is that singles enter high up in the chart and then drop like stones. Exactly half of this week's UK Top 10 are new entries; the rest are going down. In fact, in the whole of the Top 75, there are only two songs from last week's list which have improved on their positions. This high turnover means there are lots of singles which are becoming hits, but very very few which are hanging about long enough to generate anything like any sales or recognition for the artists and albums they're supposed to be supporting.
Then there's the figures themselves - comScore reckons that three quarters of a million unique users used Napster during the third quarter of 2002. To do what, precisely? And while their discovery that between the second and third quarters of this year, USD72m worth of sales disappeared from the online market, to blame this on downloads is curious - since for the same period, the number of users of file sharing services fell too on their figures (as far as we can tell, since the survey neglects to include figures for Morpheus users). This would tend to point more to fewer people doing music related stuff online at all.
Meanwhile, amazon are reporting that their books, CDs and DVD department is increasing sales.

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