Hey, isn’t the music business supposed to be rebounding?
That’s presumably why SoftBank offered $8.5 billion for Universal Music — that’s $2 billion more than anyone thought the music label was worth — earlier this year.
And that’s presumably why Universal’s current owner, Vivendi, turned the Japanese telco down.
But someone forgot to tell U.S. music buyers about the recovery: Retail sales were down 4.6 percent in the first half of the year, according to Nielsen Soundscan.
For the last decade or so, whenever you wrote a story about the music industry’s never-ending slump, you would note that while sales of CDs were plummeting, digital sales were growing. Then you noted the hopeful theory that one day increasing digital dollars would replace vanishing analog dollars.
But this year you can’t write that: While digital album sales were up 6.3 percent, sales of individual digital tracks were down 2.3 percent.