4 Pop Culture Classics That Beat Their Replacements
They're also dying a well-documented death. Slacking CD sales fueled a 13% dip in album sales from 2009 to 2010, according to Nielsen Soundscan. More recently, CD sales dropped 5.7% in 2011 and tanked by 11.8% in the first half of 2012. That's down from 101.3 million CDs sold in the first half of last year to just 91 million in the early months of 2012.
But you can't blame CDs for a consumer base that would rather spend the $5 to $10 Amazon(AMZN) and Apple(AAPL) charge to download an album than the $16 to $19 a big box store charges for a new CD, right? Overall album sales grew a sluggish 1.4% in 2011, but Nielsen Soundscan notes that sales of vinyl LPs grew a staggering 28% during that same period.
Granted, it's an extremely niche market that makes up less than 4% of all album sales, but it's the only physical product gaining any ground in an increasingly online industry. Vinyl sales jumped from 2.8 million albums sold in 2010 to 3.9 million last year. That doesn't seem like a whole lot when you consider Adele's 21 sold 5.82 million copies in the U.S. alone last year (including just 16,500 on vinyl) while the top-selling vinyl record of 2011, The Beatles' Abbey Road sold only 41,000 copies and was originally released 43 years ago.
It's a big deal, however, when you realize that even buyers on discount-happy Amazon are shelling out a minium $16 a pop for the wax version of a Beatles album they could buy for $13 on iTunes or for $7 if they wanted a new CD version. Once relegated to thrift stores and esoteric collectors' shops, consumer vinyl is in the middle of a full-priced comeback that makes big, grooved versions of Jack White's Blunderbuss (which sold an industry-leading 18,000 copies in the first six months of 2002), The Black Keys' El Camino and Fiona Apple's The Idler Wheel ... coveted commodities. Record fans will still buy hard copies of full albums -- they just decreasingly want to buy a version with a sound they can download for less.
Classic: Indie theaters
Let's just say for the record that, in the aggregate, the multiplexes are winning in decisive fashion.