Album Sales Hit All-Time Low in July

We also discuss Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant joining social media and new audio tech from Apple in this week's industry roundup.

Ultimate Guitar

Welcome to our weekly roundup of music industry news.

This week, there's some sorry news for the classic album format - but don't mourn the LP just yet. Elsewhere, Robert Plant has joined social media, though we're a bit sceptical that it's really him behind the keyboard, and Apple has come up with one of its smartest ideas in a while with a new audio hyperlink feature. Read on to find out more.

US Album Sales at All-Time Low

US album sales have fallen below five million sales for five consecutive weeks, according to Nielson SoundScan. In one week towards the end of July, just 4.69 million albums were sold - the lowest week since records began in 1991, according to Hypebot.

Observers think that the rise of streaming is affecting traditional full album sales, with CD sales dropping by 14 percent in 2013 so far compared to the year before.

Is the traditional album dying out? Will you try to help it live on by supporting and creating full albums? Share your view in the comments.

Robert Plant Joins Social Media

Robert Plant joined Twitter and other social platforms this week, though the whole thing smelt like a PR exercise considering it coincided with his new website launch. Nothing wrong with that, since Plant's far too cool to be keeping on top of technology, but is it really him behind the keyboard?

Either way, the singer took to Twitter to answer fan questions this week. Here's a few of our favorite answers.

What's your advice to young songwriters?

Hey @BruiseVi0let, Keep mixing it up. Change key regularly. Try different guitar tunings --RP

Robert Plant (@RobertPlant) August 8, 2013

What's your most memorable gig?

Hi @carolinekmiecik, Festival in the Desert, nr Timbuktu, Mali --RP

Robert Plant (@RobertPlant) August 8, 2013

If you didn't join Led Zeppelin, what job would you be doing instead?

Hi @glittertr4uma_, Marriage Councellor --RP

Robert Plant (@RobertPlant) August 8, 2013

Apple Invents Audio Hyperlinks

Clever idea, this.

Imagine you're listening to a podcast, and they mention a website. How do you follow through to that site, when there isn't a link to click?

Apple has an answer. Audio creators will soon have the power to add links to their productions, letting listeners 'click' on a segment of audio to be taken elsewhere.

Other uses could be links to wikipedia for complex topics, or bands offering a link to iTunes while listening to a preview song stream.

Can you think of other ideas for this new audio hyperlink concept? Let us know in the comments.

That's it for this week. As usual, see if you can pose some challenging questions for us in the comments and we'll take part in the debate.

21 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "Is the traditional album dying out?" No. It wasn't dying out the last time UG asked the question either. Shock horror. "though the whole thing smelt like a PR exercise" Isn't that literally THE reason famous people go on Twitter?
    I'm still gonna buy CDs, they aren't any superior to downloads but I still love 'em
    a lot of downloads if not all are just mp3 aren't they? and WAV format is what you get on CDs, so aren't they superior to downloads? sorry if I make no sense, just woke up
    WAVs are superior if one has the ears and the sound system to determine the difference, definitely.
    CDs aren't really a file type, just data. And places like bandcamp allow for high quality downloads, with other bands with their own sites starting to offer lossless too. Give it some times and downloads will be solid enough to take the spot. I don't think CD will die out that easily though because unlike casette the format is just fine in quality.
    When the CD does actually die out you can send your thanks directly to Spotify. Spotify is terrible for the music industry, I've said it since day one. The majority of people I know who use Spotify not only don't buy any albums but basically question you if you do buy albums.
    Are we just completely ignoring the fact that the article completely changes the subject? xD
    I thought Apple already had the linking for Podcasts done for playing off an iPhone? Im sure i heard Rooster Teeth mention about it in the very early podcasts.
    They already have "enhanced" podcasts, with images embedded so that while you're listening there can be an image to provide context (there are a few episodes of the Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show that make great use of this) but I haven't ever heard of having embedded hyperlinks in the audio.
    make lp's. i stream my music but if i love the album i buy a the lp. they are bigger and therefore have bigger album covers. 2 examples of awesome album covers "in search of the lost chord" and " Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On"
    The audio hyperlink idea is fantastic. I can imagine that being extremely useful for podcasts in particular - having the ability to click on a section of the podcast and get background info, or have the intro link to the sponsor's website, seems like a great idea if implemented correctly.
    That's because a bunch of sh!tty albums have been coming out. The last good album to come out was Black Sabbath's 13 and Newsted's debut album. No one wants to buy John Mayer or Florida Georgia Line bandwagon b.s.
    thats funny because my local music shop started stocking vinyls a few months ago...
    album sales don't really matter, the band/artists don't see more than 5% of the profit from record sales and that's a generous guess. go to shows and buy a tshirt if you want to support a band