The Single is Dead?

Recent figures from the BPI show that UK album sales have actually increased by 12% in volume terms. The picture is not quite as rosy as it may first appear as revenues actually fractionally declined, a reflection of heavy discounting and stiff competition from supermarkets. Additionally singles sales declined. However I do not buy the argument that a declining singles market is solely down to online file sharing. For years the record industry has persistently devalued the singles market by using it as little more than a marketing channel to drive album sales. When 4 or 5 tracks from an album are released as singles it is not surprising that anyone who has already bought the album isnít going to want to buy the fifth single. If the music industry really wants to save the singles market then they need to start treating it with the respect it deserves: ensuring at least two singles are available before an album is available (thus lending value to the single) and also ensuring that not all singles actually make it onto albums. As long as the single market is treated as poor relative is will behave like one.

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