The Vast Majority Of Music Online Goes Basically Unpurchased

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From Business Insider:

Here’s an insane stat: 98.9% of all digital music tracks in existence in 2011 sold fewer than 1,000 copies.

That’s 7,931,408 out of 8,020,660 songs.

And 73.9% of all digital music tracks sold fewer than 10 copies in 2011.

The data is from a new book by Harvard Business School Professor Anita Elberse’s new book, “Blockbusters: Hit-making, Risk-taking, and the Big Business of Entertainment”.

The data is similar for albums: 58.4% of all albums in existence sold fewer than 100 copies in 2011 — 513,146 out of 878,369.

And 97.1% of all albums available sold fewer than 1,000 copies.

To turn the data around, just 400 separate albums released in 2011 accounted for 35% of all music sales.

For tracks, just 1,514 songs out of 8,020,660 available in 2011 accounted for 40% of all sales.

Elberse comments that the old 80-20 model of the music business, which dictated 80% sales come from just 20%  percent of products, has been obliterated.

“For music albums, it is close to an 80/1 rule – if we can speak about a rule at all. Even if we take a conservative estimate of what would be on offer in a bricks-and-mortar store at any given point in time, [predictions] that long-tail sales will rival those in the head are far off.”