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> Do pure single sales really matter any more?
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post Apr 23 2017, 10:28 AM
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hi.gif Chart forum. Pure sales have been going down for a long time (since 2014 iirc), but I don't think any of us expected them to be at early 2007 levels yet ohmy.gif Streaming makes up 90% of chart sales and the new ratio which I guess was to make the chart faster doesn't seem to make much of an impact, especially since Ed got 17 out of the top 20 laugh.gif Do you think pure sales matter anymore?
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post Apr 23 2017, 10:52 AM
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They do. While 90% of overall 'sales' may be made up of streams, for current hits it's generally a much more even balance, and some even sell more than the stream. It was enough to give Harry Styles the number 1 last week.

And in the albums, I think the streaming percentage is much lower.

Let's not get into another debate about chart rules though laugh.gif
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post Apr 23 2017, 10:59 AM
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I personally don't think sales or streaming really matter anymore I think it's the exposure of the music there are songs with low chart peaks that I have heard on to and radio more than some higher peaking songs that I believe are more widely know
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post Apr 23 2017, 11:08 AM
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Sales definitely do still make a significant impact in the chart, they aren't dead just yet and have helped many songs achieve top 10 peaks this year that lagged a bit on streams, like Be the One and Ciao Adios.
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post Apr 23 2017, 11:09 AM
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Yeah, they do. Take On My Mind by Disciples, The Cure by Lady Gaga, and Solo Dance by Martin Jensen as recent examples. A track blowing up on iTunes can give them a massive boost in the chart still!
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post Apr 23 2017, 12:11 PM
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I'd say they do. Obviously streaming is more impactful but it's just as vital for a song to be strong on sales to do really well in the chart.

Streams may count for 90% of the overall chart but if you look at this week's #1, Ed's (diabolical) actual sales make up for 21.6% of his weekly total, so sales are worth slightly more at the top end.
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post Apr 23 2017, 05:33 PM
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They are pretty much dead, they may make the difference of a chart placing here or there for a song but that is about it these days. Come December the #1 on sales will be doing less than 10k and next year I think itunes will shut down and push everyone to apple music.
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post Apr 23 2017, 06:32 PM
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I think it'll take quite a while for downloads to dwindle to near-zero - over a million of them are still sold every week.
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post Apr 23 2017, 08:15 PM
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To the charts - no, to acts that don't rely on their fan base to listen to their music for free and still shift 10k+ in actual sales - yes.
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post Apr 24 2017, 11:56 AM
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I think they do still matter to enough music consumers to keep them relevant, albeit that inevitably the total figures sold per week, and average tallies shifted by individual titles typically will continue a fairly steep decline as the decade draws to a close - both in the singles and albums sectors, although the former will be boosted far more by audio streaming equivalent units than the latter.
Whatever the rate of decline by 2020 is shown to have been, there will always be people who prefer to buy their music to own, single or album, digital or physical (with the latter still very significant in the make-up of the albums sales market, despite doomladen forecasts that CD sales would decrease to frictional levels in the same way as they did with singles). Older consumers I believe tend still towards purchases while younger have embraced streaming most enthusiastically. Demographics are important here because from a mainstream chart perspective, at least in terms of singles, the market is driven primarily by young listeners, and the majority of music produced by mainstream acts is designed to appeal to current tastes, however limited, artificial or unpalatable some of us find them. The fact that youngsters go so much for streaming does partly explain why the singles chart has become so rapidly dominated by that form of consumption, as the bulk of the titles in the Top 100 or even 200 tend to be 'pop' - be that in the form of R 'n' B, hip-hop, dance or straight pop. I deliberately omit rock or metal as those genres have lost huge ground with the demise of physical sales, with their fans tending to prefer a tangible product to buy rather than a virtual one, and so barely even embraced the download let alone got into streaming. All of this is compounded by the frequently-criticised compilation of standard mainstream playlists with the predictable same big hits on them - but then again it's the laziness of consumers not bothering to cherry-pick their preferences more keenly and assemble more bespoke lists that helps drive that trend (and in turn keeps the same crop of megahits in the chart for far longer).
Personally I really hope there will always remain a niche for proper sales, however marginalised by streaming, and I believe there will be, as we still see with the physical market, however aggressive the assault from digital became. And of course, as long as our chart is there to reflect the relative performance of available titles in both kinds of consumption (however awkward that continues to be for chart compilation purposes), it must still count both the number of audio streams and the number of bought copies across all formats.
My greatest concern is that as they dwindle, weekly performance reports will start to routinely fail to mention any figures for paid-for sales only. That might not matter to many, but for those of us who still find it interesting and important to make some sort of comparison of current performance with the past when streaming was not available or at least was not yet incorporated into the charts, it is imperative that at the least the week's true sales No 1 is reported, and not just the combined official chart-topper's tally. Since June 2014 when the combined chart launched, by my reckoning Music Week have failed to cite the breakdown of streams and sales for the paid-for No 1 single on six occasions and I worry that casuality will only become more frequent as sales reduce and are perceived to be of less relevance to the wider audience. It happened very quickly with the physical/digital handover, although as fewer and fewer singles were even released on a physical format that was perhaps more understandable. As long as digital downloads remain an option - and whatever Apple plan to do with iTunes in the coming years I hope that they will continue to be sold via other retail sites - then they should be cited; at least in respect of the biggest seller. Certainly with albums that must continue, with downloads having never attained the kind of takeover in the sales sector that they did with singles, and with sales (albeit in decline) still commanding a 55-60% portion of the market (whereas it's now down to 5-10% in singles).


This post has been edited by Gambo: Apr 24 2017, 12:07 PM
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post Apr 24 2017, 11:57 AM
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They still make a big enough impact on the chart. And most of all, the iTunes chart still impacts what radios support a lot more than Spotify does.
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