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Thursday, January 04, 2007

2006 Another Weak Year for Albums, Movie Theatres

The migration of music fans from "hard" media to cyberspace continued in 2006, in which, according to the RIAA, only 406 albums were certified gold, platinum or multiplatinum -- the lowest number since 1990 (the number of hit albums selling 500,000 or more copies peaked in 1999). Additionally, Nielsen states that while sales of online digital music rose by 65% in 2006, sales of albums fell 5% overall, and sales of new releases fell by 9%.

Surprisingly, Nielsen also reveals that the fastest growing music category is classical. Chris Anderson theorizes that this reflects pent-up demand from a traditionally underserved audience.

Theatrical releases of movies fared somewhat better in '06, but not much. Despite several blockbuster movie releases, the number of tickets sold rose only 1% over 2005, and revenue was up only 4%. According to the Hollywood Reporter, average opening-weekend grosses fell in 2006 by $700,000. Anderson notes that movie ticket sales have been declining more or less steadily since 2002-2004, which were "the last good years before the DVD/home theater boom fragmented the audience even more than VHS had before."

Source: The Long Tail