To borrow a phrase from Mark Twain, reports of the death of the long play album have been greatly exaggerated, at least when it comes to leading digital music retailer eMusic. eMusic announced last week that full album downloads accounted for 72% of their worldwide sales over the past year, and over the past few months have risen even further, now making up fully three-quaters of total sales. This is an increase from the average of just under 70% over the past several years.
Other major music sites have also reported an increase in album purchases as a proportion of their sales, but still make up a substantially smaller percentage of the total, with more than a billion digital tracks bought in 2008 by U.S. Consumers and only 65 million digital albums bought. Total album sales (including CD purchases) fell by 14% that year.
Music services such as Amazon.com and iTunes have launched initiatives to boost sales of full albums, but eMusic seems to have already found the keys to success in doing so. According to Danny Stein, eMusic President and CEO, although the majority of their customers are over the age of 25, they encourage them to buy more music with subscription and album pricing and by providing more musical context than other services.
eMusic provides editorial features that place albums in context, showing career surveys of artist’s catalogs, noting musical peers and influences, and bringing in additional artist information and reviews from other sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube and Flickr.
eMusic also encourages album purchases by the way the site is organized. There are no listings for individual tracks, as there are in iTunes or at Amazon. At eMusic, charts are only for albums, artists, labels and composers.
As lagging sales of singles, ring tones, etc. have the music industry scrambling to focus consumer interest on buying albums once again, eMusic is drawing attention to its own already successful model.
If you’re interested in learning more about the eMusic difference, why not take advantage of our eMusic Free Trial? You’ll download 35 tracks for free and with no obligation during the 14 day trial period. Choose from the millions available at eMusic.