There’s a lot of doom and gloom in the music industry, and with good reason. A lot of people are illegally downloading music, while others are perfectly (and rightfully) content to listen to music for free on services like Spotify and Pandora. Yet when looking at album sales for the year, the total numbers of albums sold actually had a slight increase, according to the New York Times. There’s no reason for labels to pop the bubbly yet, though. Sales were only up 1.3%, to 330.6 million. And numbers wouldn’t have been nearly as high if it wasn’t for Adele, whose juggernaut sophomore album 21 sold 5.82 million copies in 2011. But despite everyone getting Adele (dude!), rock accounts for one of the biggest increases of the year, with the biggest gain format-wise, up 1.9%, according to Billboard.biz. The 105.7 million units the genre sold was up 2 million from the previous year, and metal certainly fits under the “rock” umbrella.
The biggest increase, not surprisingly, was growth in digital music, which was up 8.5% from 2010. Sales of digital albums were up 19.5% from 2010, to 103.1 million copies, and an impressive 1.27 billion tracks were downloaded. In fact, for the first time, digital music sales surpassed physical sales, with 50.3% of all singles and albums being sold digitally. The real winner in all of this? Vinyl. Sales of vinyl rose 36% to 3.9 million, which is the highest level ever since SoundScan started tallying individual sales in 1991. And even though CD sales declined once again, there’s a silver lining. While they’re down 5.7% from 2010, they’re down significantly less than 2009 to 2010, when they fell 19%.
Regardless of where you stand on downloading or labels, buying music ultimately helps the artists, whether they’re selling it themselves or on a label. There’s really no reason not to see this as good news.
It’s a given that as physical formats continue their slow, sad decline that there will increasingly become less places to buy music, and now another great local record store has closed up shot. Louisville KY’s ear X-tacy has closed up shop after 26 years in business. Three days after closing their doors without warning, owner John D. Timmons posted a farewell on the store’s web site.
Dear Louisville, and all who have shopped, supported, and loved ear X-tacy over the years,
It has been a dream come true…actually, a dream exceeded, to be part of your musical lives here in Louisville for the last 26 years. My life was changed forever, and guided by the power of music since I can remember. Music has been the soul, the heart, the passion of my life for my entire 56 years. The record store experience has been the only child in my life. Now, it’s time for me to let it fly.
Thank YOU…for allowing me to be part of your musical universe. Louisville, you made me feel like I was truly HOME when I moved here in 1976. It’s been a great ride, but as George Harrison knowingly said, “All Things Must Pass.” It’s with sadness, but also with great pride I say to you now…
ear X-tacy is no more
Long live ear X-tacy!
Please keep the music alive. Support the incredible music scene and independent businesses we have here! Until you leave this great city, you cannot realize what a unique treasure we have here. Embrace it, celebrate it, and promote it. Love it.
Thank you all for making my dreams come true. Thank you for making ear X-tacy the wonderful place that it was. I thank all of the staff that made this store THE hub for music in Louisville for the past 26 years. Please take pride in knowing that YOU have been the heart and soul of what this store became. Thank you for sharing my dream and exceeding all of my expectations! To all of the musicians who have graced our store and stage, I cannot tell you what a thrill it’s been. From the local newbies to the incredibly huge national artists…THANK YOU for gracing our store and sharing you incredible musical talents with us all…that’s what I like to call: “earX-tacy”. Read more »
Tomorrow is Record Store Day, a day that celebrates those beautiful individuals that still go to their local music stores and buy physical albums. And of course, it wouldn’t make much sense to call it Record Store Day if it wasn’t about records – LPs, 45′s, and vinyl, that is. Whether you’re a longtime record collector, an occasional buyer, or someone that doesn’t even know what a turntable is, tomorrow is a great day to pick up some new and interesting records at great prices. There are a few interesting CD and DVD releases as well, but most of the day is focused on records. So make some time tomorrow to visit your local music shop and browse the overflow of new music available to you! And if you are one of the growing population of music fans that doesn’t know where the nearest non-chain music store is, head over to this link for a list of all the stores participating in Record Store Day. And then flog yourself repeatedly for being ignorant of your local music store, one of the most glorious places you will ever visit.
Also, if you’re thinking that Record Store Day is only for classic rock, ’50s big bands, and orchestral pieces, you couldn’t be further from fact. The list of releases on Record Store Day is so diverse and varied, the list of genres covered would have almost as many items as the list of actual releases. There are a few hundred items on the list of special releases, which can be perused at this location. For the exclusively rock and metal-minded listener, though, here is the list you need to be carrying with you when you head out to make your purchases tomorrow:
A Day to Remember, All I Want (Victory)
AC/DC, Shoot to Thrill / War Machine (Columbia)
Bad Brains, God of Love (Maverick)
Bad Brains, Pay to Cum (ROIR)
Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues (Metal Blade)
Circa Survive, Appendage (Atlantic)
Clouds, B Chuggas May Be Logging (Hydra Head)
Deftones, Covers (Warner Bros.)
Dio, Killing the Dragon (Niji)
Discordance Axis, The Inalienable Dreamless (Hydra Head)
Duff McKagan’s Loaded, The Taking (Eagle Rock)
Flogging Molly, Don’t Shut ‘Em Down (Borstal Beat)
Foo Fighters, Medium Rare (RCA)
Fucked Up, Town Comp (Matador)
Glassjaw, Worship & Tribute (Warner Bros.)
Hollywood Undead, American Tragedy (A&M/Octone)
In This Moment, The Promise (Century Media)
Job for a Cowboy, Ruination Green Vinyl (Metal Blade)
Job for a Cowboy, Ruination Orange Vinyl (Metal Blade)
Job for a Cowboy, Ruination Red Vinyl (Metal Blade)
Machine Head, The Black Procession (Roadrunner)
Mastodon, Live at the Aragon (Warner Bros.)
Mastodon/ZZ Top, Just Got Paid (Warner Bros.)
Neurosis, Neurosis (Sovereign)
New York Dolls, Dancing Backward in High Heels (Savoy)
New York Dolls, Fool for You Baby / Pills (Savoy)
Nirvana, Hormoaning (UMe)
Opeth, The Throat of Winter (Roadrunner)
Ozzy Osbourne, Blizzard of Oz (Legacy)
Ozzy Osbourne, Diary of a Madman (Legacy)
Ozzy Osbourne, Flying High Again / I Don’t Know (Legacy)
Rise Against, Join the Ranks (Fat Wreck Chords)
Rival Schools, Wring it Out / Choose Your Adventure (Atlantic)
Rosetta, A Determinism of Morality (Cavity)
Rush, Caravan / BU2B (Atlantic)
Superchunk/Coliseum, Horror Business / Bullet (Temporary Residence)
Touché Amoré, To the Beat of a Dead Horse (6131)
An event like this only comes once a year, so it ought to be celebrated to the fullest. Get to your local music store, spend some of your money, and learn new ways to better appreciate your favorite artists’ work!
So Record Store Day is coming up this Saturday. For one day, music fans across the country will fan out to the existing record stores out there, pick up awesome vinyl and cool limited edition CDs, and remember for a day how awesome it is to be a collector. While this is great, that used to happen every Tuesday. I’m sure there are some people out there that still go to record stores every Tuesday to pick up new releases, but they’re the exception to the rule. To drive that point home, Buzzfeed has a sobering collection of 40 closing or closed record stores.
Sure, it’s a given that more and more people prefer downloading to physical copies. It’s also not breaking news that most of the downloaders aren’t paying for their music. That’s not going to stop any time soon, but as someone that used to enjoy buying an album the day it came out, listening to it over and over again while perusing the artwork and liner notes, and getting recommendations from knowledgeable record store clerks, this is a bummer. I get the same feeling looking at these pictures as I do at pictures of the faded luxury of present day Detroit or Asbury Park.
Record stores have become a dying breed in recent years for a number of reasons. Whether through the rise in illegal downloading, big box stores like Best Buy selling CDs at a loss to get people in their stores, or online music stores making it easier to buy online, the pasttime of losing yourself in a day of browsing and getting turned onto new music by knowledgeable clerks has fallen by the wayside. However, independent record store coalition The Music Monitor Network is trying to restore the cool factor of record stores by launching Metal Club, and they’re starting with an exclusive release of a live Metallica album.
On June 12, 2008, Metallica played a surprise show at The Basement, a 150-capacity venue below Nashville’s Grimey’s New & Preloved Music. On November 26 (aka Black Friday), Live At Grimey’s will become available exclusively at independent music stores participating in Metal Club. The nine-song album will be available on CD and also on limited edition two-disc 10″ vinyl with a gatefold jacket.
That’s one hell of a way to start things off for Metal Club. Essentially, it sounds like they’re taking the Record Store Day concept and spreading it throughout the year. According to the press release we got, it seems like they’re going to continue to release exclusive stuff, like live EPs, vinyl-only releases and box sets , as well as present in-store events, not unlike the Metallica show at Grimey’s. Their site also contains a record store locator. We’re very psyched about this. Anything that gets people back into record stores is a win. Growing up, independent record stores were more than a place to buy music – they were a community center that helped educate and shape our taste in music. If Metal Club can bring back that feeling and turn a new generation of fans on, it’s a big win for everyone. Live at Grimey’s track listing after the jump.
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