The RIAA Shows Music Single Sales for the Past 35 Years

The RIAA Shows Music Single Sales for the Past 35 Years

If you are a child of the 70’s like me, you fondly remember your collection of 45s and the mysteriously vanishing spindle adapters used to allow the discs with large holes to play on 33-1/3 RPM turntables. But as the 70s gave way to the 80s and the AOR (‘album oriented rock’ or ‘always on radio’ depending on who you ask) of Styx, Foreigner, The Police and more dominated the airwaves the ‘single’ slowly became less and less popular.

Then CDs arrived in the mid-80s without a real equivalent to the 45. Sure there were CD singles, but the record labels priced them in a way (~$3-$4 compared to $10-15 for the album) to ensure you’d be better off buying the album. That trend continued to the point that the single as a format was pretty much deal by 2003 – and the record companies loved it that way.

But with the rise of digital music, the launch of iTunes and downloadable $0.99 singles, suddenly everything changed … to the point that in 2011 there were more than 1.2 BILLION singles sold in the U.S. along.

The record companies – and some artists – bemoan this shift. Personally I think it is awesome – no longer are we stuck buying a $10-12 album when there are only 2 songs we want. Of course, the down side is we can miss out on those hidden gems that require multiple listens to appreciate. What do you think?

Source: DMN

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About the Author

Michael Anderson
I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!

1 Comment on "The RIAA Shows Music Single Sales for the Past 35 Years"

  1. I’d like to see how this trended versus album sales.  The upside is not paying for album tracks you don’t want.  The downside is that “pop” now rules more than ever (and not even well written or well-sung pop) with few exceptions, and the art of crafting an album is all but lost.  Remember when groups like Styx and ELO made an album side nearly a continuous thing to be listened to as a single entity?

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