theunderstatement by MICHAEL DEGUSTA

I’m looking forward to the 2010 music sales numbers coming in.  Australia’s ARIA has just reported and I haven’t done a deep dive on the numbers yet, but their press release might deserve as much analysis as the numbers themselves.

Headline: “Digital products provide greatest area of growth”

Response: That’s generous - digital products were the only area of growth.  All 6 of your physical categories were down at least 21% each.  2 of the 4 digital categories were down too (ringtones and “other”).

CEO of ARIA: “Australians are consuming more music than ever before”

Response: Not sure how he’s defining “consume” but hopefully it’s not by the numbers that immediately follow his quote. They tout that “unit sales are up 10%,” but that’s because they sold 12.7 million more digital tracks than 2009. Unfortunately, they also sold 3.6 million fewer albums. So unless there’s now only an average of 3.5 tracks per album, Australians certainly didn’t buy more music than ever. We won’t even mention the 1.3 million fewer music DVDs, et cetera.

My favorite number from the 2010 ARIA figures: cassette album sales in Australia dropped 99.8% last year from 1,225 down to (wait for it…) 3.  I’m in Australia currently, so I think tomorrow I’ll go out and buy 6 cassettes and patiently await next year’s press release headline…

The ARIA press release (PDF)

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