For the fourth consecutive year, vinyl sales in the United States hit record levels, surpassing 9 million units for the first time in over 20 years. But for all the buzz, and it is great that any format sells music to their customers, this chart gives you an indication of just how big this party really is.
source: Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). All figures in millions, and US-based. Chart via Digital Music News
Forty-seven of the 50 most-played tracks on both BBC Radio 1 and Radio 2 last year were major label releases.
Just three – or 6% – of each of the publicly-funded UK networks’ most-rotated songs in 2014 were independent, according to data from international airplay authority Radiomonitor, analysed by MBW.
That’s less than a third of the share that independent releases claimed on Radio 1’s closest publicly-funded equivalent in France and just 1/6th of the share independents took on Australian youth station Triple-J (see below for more international radio analysis).
BBC 6Music, however, was much more supportive of the indies: over half the station’s Top 50 (54%) most-spun tracks in 2014 were non-major label songs.
The percentage of independent releases on Radio 1 increased in its Top 100 most-played tracks of 2014, but not by much – up to 10%.
Radio 2’s Top 100 most-played list of 2014 brought slightly better news for the independents: 15 tracks within it were not sourced from the majors.
Below, some of the highlights from Nielsen Canada’s 2014 Canadian Music Report that compiles SoundScan music sales and Broadcast Data radio spins. The cool folks at FYI Music, headed by David Farrell have posted this on their site, is worth a newsletter signup.
Released on january 15, 1985, Centerfied was John Fogerty’s most popular post-Creedence album, selling over 2 million copies, and containing the hit singles “The Old Man Down the Road”, “Rock and Roll Girls” and the title track “Centerfield”. Let’s play tribute to this amazing record with 5 fun facts:
1. Fogerty played all the instruments on this album himself, thanks to overdubbing.
2. This album was Fogerty’s first album in nine years. After Asylum Records rejected his Hoodoo album, he decided to take a long break from the music business because of legal battles with his record company.
3. The song “Zanz Kant Danz” was altered and re-titled “Vanz Kant Danz” a few months after the release of the album in an unsuccessful attempt to avoid a defamation lawsuit from Saul Zaentz, owner of Fantasy Records.
4. A Zaentz lawsuit claimed that “The Old Man Down the Road” shared the same chorus as Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Run Through the Jungle”. The defendant Fogerty ultimately prevailed, when he showed that the two songs were whole, separate and distinct compositions. Bringing his guitar to the witness stand, he played excerpts from both songs, demonstrating that many songwriters have distinctive styles that can make different compositions sound similar to less discerning ears. So, Fogerty got sued for sounding like Fogerty.
Do they sound the same? You be the judge.
5. The album is dedicated to “Gossamer Wump.” Fogerty said in an interview, “When I was a young kid, my brothers had a record called “The Adventures of Gossamer Wump.” Gossamer Wump is a little kid who saw a big parade comin’ down the road and thinks ‘Hey, this is what I want, I want to be a musician.’ Gossamer goes through all the instruments comin’ by and does not know how to decide what instrument he wants to play. Then, at the end of the parade he sees the triangle and thinks, ‘Yes, that’s what I want to play.’ Determined to learn how to play the triangle, Gossamer takes his belongings and 26 peanut butter sandwiches and leaves for the big city. On his way he sings ‘jingle, jongle, jangle, ah’m goin’ to the big city to learn to play the triangle.’ In the city, Gossamer starts taking lessons and very soon he plays “tingle.” After ten years of courage, determination, and hard work Gossamer plays “tingle.” No difference? At first sight, no, but Gossamer, he can hear the difference. This is what I like about this story. After ten years in my garage, I played alone. They maybe don’t hear the difference, but I do. Gossamer stuck to his dream, and that’s why I dedicated this album to Gossamer Wump.”
Taylor Swift’s 1989, released on Oct. 27, pulled off some amazing sales feats. After a first-week debut of 1.29 million units — a feat that many thought was impossible in today’s sales environment — 1989 became the year’s best-selling album in the very last days of 2014, helped in part by its absence from streaming services. However, for the first 51 weeks of the year, Frozen was the clear frontrunner. Swift’s album scanned 3.66 million units in total, versus the 3.53 million tallied by Disney’s runaway hit soundtrack. Since its release, Frozen has scanned 3.9 million units (the film’s soundtrack was released in late 2013, cutting off the eligibility of those 400,000 units when measuring 2014’s sales total).
The pair were two of just four albums to hit the million-unit mark in 2014: Sam Smith‘s In The Lonely Hour sold 1.2 million units, and Pentatonix‘s That’s Christmas To Me scanned 1.14 million. In 2013, 13 albums moved over a million.
Republic Records was the top label overall of 2014, capturing 8.97% of total overall album sales plus track equivalent albums (TEA). Billboard finished 2014 using that measure to rank labels — now, with the introduction of Christian scans in Q3 2013 included in the overall U.S. market tracked by SoundScan, Nielsen Music has introduced a new marketing report entitled “Industry Market Share plus TEA,” which Billboard will use going forward to rank labels. See the label market-share rankings below to see how that change impacts the rankings. In any event, when looking at the Industry Market Share report for 2014, including the scans from Christian retailers, Republic remains on top with 8.74%.
Indie labels had a banner 2014, grabbing 35.1 percent of the market. On the distribution side, Universal Music Group, home to Republic and Capitol, remains the undisputed leader, with a 38.7 percent share but flat year-over-year. Sony Music, and its labels Columbia and RCA, continues to challenge.
How did a small four-string guitar that was not invented in Hawaii end up with a Hawaiian name that means Jumping Flea? When 19th century Portuguese travelers landed in Hawaii with a small four-stringed guitar, a member of the king’s court, nicknamed Jumping Flea, or ukulele in Hawaiian, took to the instrument. Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel explain how an affinity for the ukulele gave the instrument its name.
Today in 1958, one of the greatest rock and roll songs ever released, Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire” hit #1 on the US Billboard Chart. It’s the very first single I ever bought with my own money, after hearing the song once in 1976 on CHUM AM while in the car with my parents. 1 minute, 52 seconds. That’s the entire length of the song, and the length of time it took me to really understand the power of rock and roll.
To celebrate the chart-topping time, here are 5 fun facts about the song:
1. Even though it will forever be Jerry Lee Lewis’, he didn’t write the song. It was written by Otis Blackwell and Jack Hammer. Blackwell was no stranger to success by the time he was done in music – he wrote Little Willie John’s “Fever”, Jerry Lee Lewis “Breathless”, Elvis Presley’s “Don’t Be Cruel”, and “All Shook Up”. Hammer didn’t fare so well, even though he wrote many songs during the “Twist” fad of 50’s and 60’s, including an album released under his main stage name, Jack Hammer, under the title “Twistin’ King” released in France.
2. “Great Balls Of Fire” was an instant hit. The song sold one million copies in its first 10 days of release in the United States and sold over five million copies, making it both one of the best-selling singles in the United States, as well as one of the world’s best-selling singles of all time.
3. The song was featured in a performance by Jerry Lee Lewis and his band in the 1957 Warner Brothers rock and roll film Jamboree, which also featured Carl Perkins, Fats Domino, Buddy Knox, and Dick Clark.
JERRY LEE LEWIS – Great Balls Of Fire – Jamboree by rockinbart
4. The song title comes from a Southern expression, which some Christians consider blasphemous, that refers to the Pentecost’s defining moment when the Holy Spirit manifested as “cloven tongues as of fire” and the Apostles spoke in tongues.
5. Among the artists who have covered the song? Let’s see…There’s The Kingsmen, The Crickets, Electric Light Orchestra recorded a version for their 1974 The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach, Fleetwood Mac, who included the track on the 1999 release of the Shrine ’69 album, even Tiny Tim recorded a version as his b-side to “Tiptoe Through the Tulips.” Garth Brooks did a version for his Blame It All on My Roots: Five Decades of Influences album, and Ronnie James Dio & the Prophets recorded this song for the Live at Domino’s album.