Music, My Stories

Dream Theater – Blockbuster, Lackluster Or Just Normal

Dream Theater – Dream Theater

Week 1 – ending 2 October 2013 – 33,950 units sold
Week 2 – ending 9 October 2013 – 8,300 units sold
Week 3 – ending 16 October 2013 – 4,275 units sold
Week 4 – ending 23 October 2013 – 2,950 units sold

On Spotify, all the album tracks combined have been streamed 1,346,248 times which is an increase of 150,031 from last weeks combined total of 1,196,217 streams. However on a week to week basis, the streams are also decreasing like the album sales.

So what is the above data saying about the new album. Before I offer my theory on it, the below data is from an excellent book from Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse called “Blockbusters: Hit-Making, Risk-Taking, And The Big Business Of Entertainment”:

“In the recorded music industry in 2011, more than 800,000 unique album titles together sold more than 330 million copies (including both physical and digital copies)… For instance, 513,000 titles – 58% of all unique titles – each sold fewer than 10 copies, accounting for only 0.5 percent of sales.

13 titles selling 1,000,000 copies or more/23,287,000 copies sold/7%

387 titles selling 100,000-999,999 copies/93,992,000 copies sold/28%

4,229 titles selling 10,000-99,999 copies/114,949,000 copies sold/35%

21,042 titles selling 1,000-9,999 copies/61,493,000 copies sold/19%

87,986 titles selling 100-999 copies/27,032,000 copies sold/8%

251,566 titles selling 10-99 copies/8,261,000 copies sold/2%

513,146 titles selling fewer than 10 copies/1,558,000 copies sold/0.5%”

The above analysis is interesting.

1. Look at the number of titles in the mix. The competition for listener’s attention is huge. The supply of music is at super high levels and the demand for music is only for the best music out there.

2. Like the Seventies, the Eighties and the Nineties, there are still only a select few of releases that end up selling more than a million.

3. Dream Theater is one of those 4,229 titles in the third tier, selling between 10,000 and 99,999 copies. Actually a lot of the metal and hard rock bands fall into that category. Their previous album “A Dramatic Turn Of Events” sold in this tier. However “Black Clouds and Silver Linings” sold over 100,000.

4. One of my favourite bands, Five Finger Death Punch fits into the 387 titles selling between 100,000 and 999,999 units.

So Dream Theater is doing what it normally does. The album that was promoted like a blockbuster movie is following the same path of the previous releases. Decent first week sales, with a quick decline. For Dream Theater, this is normal.



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