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CD Sales' Coldest Winter: December Numbers Plummeting

December 18, 2008 11:30 AM ET

As is becoming an annual winter tradition, CD sales are having yet another icy December, with sales down 21.7 percent compared to the first week of December 2007. It's hard to blame this year's slate of releases, as the Top 10 albums are selling better than their counterparts last year. So what's to blame? Most likely the recession: iPods and Wiis aren't selling out like in previous years, either.

While by all accounts the big retailers are being battered on the CD sales front, the season has been slightly better for indie stores, as they've seen only a 8.6 percent decrease in album sales. And there was good news for places like Starbucks and online music stores: sales are actually up 8.7 percent. In fact, the number of digital songs sold this year will top 1 billion. So what does the future hold? Stores are already starting to cut down on the floor space they dedicate to CDs. "DVD, Blu-ray are doing great. The CD, no," said one wholesale exec. "I expect next year that we will be cutting back on our CD buying... we will be buying less of each title."

Related Stories:
October CD Sales Down As Economy Struggles With Recession
Despite Some Big Rock Records, Music Biz Still Struggling
Mid Year Music Biz Report Card: CDs Down, Digital Sales Up, Tours Steady

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

More Song Stories entries »
 
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