An article “12 Extremely Disappointing Facts About Popular Music” posted by bloggers and Facebook users has become a popular read in the last few days. It’s a nice sound byte but holds no merit when one digs beneath the surface.
The article states blurbs such as Ke$ha’s “Tik-Tok” sold more copies than ANY Beatles single and Katy Perry holds the same record as Michael Jackson for most number one singles from an album.
First the landscape has changed, therefore the variables change. When comparing the 1960’s to the year 2011, one must consider a host of factors including demographic, technology, distribution, cost, radio, and disposable entertainment income.
iTunes and sites such as YouTube and Amazon spiked the sales of singles within the last 5 years. The explosion of mobile phones and computers also played a role in the distribution of music. Also note that Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales data for Nielsen since March 1, 1991, prior to that, the tracking system wasn’t efficient. Many sales from The Beatles and artists like Michael Jackson simply weren’t tracked.
Don’t worry folks, Paul McCartney’s estimated worth is 725 million. Our favorite songs by The Beatles will outlive the beats written for artists like Ke$ha and Katy Perry.