A revolution? Maybe.
If there are still people walking around this world thinking that streaming music online will never be able to replace physical copies, maybe send them to the Flat Earth Society — that group is always looking for loonies who fail to understand reality.
No clearer sign has come to the forefront of the debate than that of dwindling album sales and its effect on Billboard charts. Sure, we had Adele's monstrous 25 slaughter a few records last year, but that was likely due more to hype and exploiting people's "fear of missing out" than anything else. If you'd like proof of that, ask someone who bought the album to list two songs off of it by their exact titles. It ain't going to happen. Create the illusion of buzz and the bee's follow; classic music industry smoke and mirrors. Those tricks, however, are beginning to fail in their effectiveness, as this week's number 1 on Billboard's "Hot 200' proves. Rihanna's Anti is the worst selling #1 album in history …
Probably not a record she's going to brag about anytime soon.
As MSN Entertainment reports, Anti has bobbled around in its positioning ever since the trainwreck release of it was completely fucked by TIDAL — something the company's gotten very good at. As of right now, Rihanna's release is on the top position with only 54,000 units moved, total. As in, purchases and streams combined. In its defense, one unit online counts as 1,500 plays of any song from the album. It sold 17,000 physical units, which means there were more than 55 million streams of her songs online (mostly due to her popular "Work" single featuring Drake) to account for the rest of the total.
For all intents and purposes, that's a fuck-load of listens. Any mid-level act would be beside themselves if they were ever able to garner that many plays from fans around the world. But this is Rihanna we're talking about, one of the largest pop icons of the 21st Century, and in comparison to her peers, it's just "shit" by standards pushed by the fat-cats before.
This is the reality of the music industry. There's more transparency than before, and even though it can try to 'persuade' people into backing manufactured projects like Justin Bieber, Meghan Trainor and whatever the fuck that 5 Seconds of Summer bullshit is, it's going to be harder for labels to manipulate tastes in the way they used to before. With millions of songs being released every year and easier access to them all, charts may become a thing of the past with actual, honest numbers taking their place.
Then again, it could just be the perfect front entering the industry's storm doors to wreck everything it once was. Expendable incomes are down, access to free is up and people are tired of large corporations telling them what they should and shouldn't be listening to. A revolution? Maybe.
Whatever it is, things are changing … and the world is round! For fuck's sake …