Rolling Stone magazine gives a dead-on synopsis of the music industry in 2005. It stunk!
Album sales went from 667 million in 2004 to 618 million in 2005, a shocking 7.2 percent drop.
Even more dramatic, the top five CDs of 2005 generated half the sales of the top five CDs in 2004.
The big losers for the year were all the major labels, except Universal. Sony had the biggest market share drop, after its payola scandal and the on-going lawsuits against it because of its error-filled copy protection scheme on many of its CDs released in 2005.
The big winners were Apple, with its iTunes online music store, the indie labels, especially Victory Records, who's artist, Hawthorne Heights, sold over 550,000 copies without any radio play. Digital downloads were a winner (especially through iTunes), in fact, they outsold CDs during the last week of 2005 for the first time ever.
Mariah Carey was also a big winner in 2005, coming back from near extinction with the top selling CD in 2005. Kind of a bittersweet victory to be the best in a bad year.
The quotes in the article are priceless.
"It was arguably the worst year in the music business' history," said Steve Bartels, President of Island Records.
Gwen Stefani's manager, Jim Guerinot, had the best quote, "The major labels want to say the glass is half full...I think everybody's getting the message: You better get a fucking smaller glass!"
The article doesn't mention who I think is the biggest winner of 2005 - the podcasting community. Podcasters, together with the artists in the Podsafe Music Network, made incredible strides in 2005. Artists who were unknown outside of their local bar scene are now international celebrities, like Brother Love and Chance. Podcasting and the Podsafe Music Network are going to change the music industry (and advertising!) into something we won't even recognize. And they'll do it within the next 2 years (you can quote me).