Strong sales of new releases from the top ladies in song and multiple reissues of classic albums made the first half of 2011 the best 6 months for album sales since 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
The one percent increase in sales is little more than a tiny bright spot for an industry which has gone into a tailspin over the past decade. The major labels failed to capitalize on emerging digital distribution models early on and do not look to be in a position to recover any time soon.
Google took us further into the digital media future with some compelling announcements at the fourth annual Google I/O developers conference in San Francisco this week. Recent Google I/O keynotes seem silly in retrospect — both Google Wave and Buzz were epic busts. But this year Google narrowed its focuses to it’s strengths, namely the Android mobile operating system and the Chrome browser and operating system. The gist was this: Use Google’s web-based tools and applications, combine with seemingly infinite storage space in the cloud, and bulky hard drives and desktop PC’s will become mere artifacts of our technological evolution. A Google account combined with a device running Android or Chrome OS will be all you need to do [almost] anything.
Spotify now offers users various packages for purchasing downloads of the tracks already streamable via the service. A single track goes for $1.29 cents a track but for $50 you can download 100 tracks (that’s 50 cents a pop). The one catch being that all credits expire after 30 days (extendable to 90 days depending on ensuing transactions). Each purchased download can be re-downloaded up to four times.
50 cents is a great deal for the savvy investor, however, many users are sure to get got by simply clicking “Get Album” on, say, the new Beastie Boys’ “Hot Sauce Committee Party Two” and pay $14.28 straight up for the 16 tracks.
The downloads come via 7digital in 320 kbps format.
Alternatively, the digital album goes for $7.99 at Amazon (320 kbps mp3), $10.99 on BeastieBoys.com (in multiple formats including lossless plus a bonus remix), and $14.99 at the iTunes store at 256 kbps AAC (incl. 30 minute Fight For Your Right Revisited video download).
When it comes to this particular release — the choices are so varied it could be a toss up. How would you go about purchasing the MP3 download?