Grunge is Back: New albums from Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Bush, Hole, plus a reunited Soundgarden and the immortal Pearl Jam have people wondering if someone hasn’t set the controls of the DeLorean for June, 1994.
The Continuing Collapse of CD Sales: Grunge’s resurrection has done little for the calamitous death spiral in CD sales that began in 2001. Ten years ago, $1.44 billion worth of recorded music was sold in the U.S.; last year, it was $769 million. In Canada, sales are running up to 13 per cent behind where they were last year—and that was before the upward spike that came after Michael Jackson died. Things are so dire, it’s possible to sneak onto the Billboard Top 200 album chart by selling about 2,500 CDs. If it wasn’t for Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Drake and those damn Glee kids, things would be a whole lot worse.
The Crisis in the Concert Industry: With revenues from CDs drying up like a Death Valley creek bed in July, artists have to tour more often and charge more for tickets. Add in high service charges and the perception that scalpers always get the best seats no matter how hard you try, people are staying away. The Eagles, the Dixie Chicks, Christina Aguilera and Limp Bizkit have all had to cancel shows because of poor sales. And let’s not even talk about the serious problems Sarah McLachlan’s Lilith Fair is having. That’s not to say all tours are doing poorly. Just try and get a ticket for any of Rogers Waters’ restaging of Pink Floyd’s The Wall.
The music industry continues to transition into … something.