The ABC will close 50 ABC Shops before the end of the year just as music sales hit an all-time low.
The closure of the national chain in Australia will lead to around 300 job loses.
ABC managing director Mark Scott to ABC radio that “Customers are now getting that content through digital downloads and so all our advice is that the shops are now not making money.”
He added, “It’s very hard to project them making significant money in the future and we can’t cross subsidise a retail business by taking money out of broadcasting and investing it to prop up a retail business anymore”.
The news comes as music sales in Australia plummeted to its worst figure ever looking at the Top 500 album sales.
Industry figures shown to Noise11 demonstrate that the Top 500 albums combined across Australia last week added up to
120,364. Compare that to 2003 figures when Guy Sebastian’s debut album ‘Just As I Am’ sold 163,711 in its first week. That is sizably more than sales of the Top 500 today combined.
Leading into Christmas 2003, there was one week were the Top 10 albums alone accounted for more than one million sales.
The Top 10 albums sales combined last week was 25,555 representing around 20% of total album sales.
However, Scott’s evaluation of digital vs physical sales is rubbery at best with Australian’s continuing to choose the higher quality sound of the physical CD over the poor quality download or even lesser quality stream.
Of the 25,555 sales in the Top 10, only 9.493 (or around one third) were downloads).
An obvious title like John Farnham & Olivia Newton-John’s ‘Two Strong Hearts’ was an major CD seller (just 245 digital sales out of 4,470 total sales).
However, young pop music fans still hover towards the physical disc over digital download suggesting that the trophy value of holding music in your hands still has currency for kids.
Meghan Trainor’s ‘Title’ sold 1,135 downloads out of 3,574 total sales, Ed Sheeran ‘X’ sold 1,220 downloads off 3,547 total sales and Taylor Swift ‘1989’ sold 1,228 downloads out of 2,974 sales.
Older targeted Top 10 acts also did well physically. Florence + The Machine ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ sold 736 downloads for 2,135 sales, Sam Smith ‘In The Lonely Hour’ sold 426 downloads to 1,435 total sales and Mumford & Sons ‘Wilder Mind’ sold 445 downloads to 1,307 total sales.
Only three titles in the Top 10, Years & Years ‘Communion’, Tuka ‘Life Death Time Eternal’ and INXS ‘The Very Best’ did better digitally than physically. All three titles are distributed by Universal Music, the one major music label that is championing the poor quality download over the higher standard physical disc.
ABC Shops were started 35 years ago as merch stores for ABC product including TV on DVD, ABC Records releases, t-shirts and various other show relation merchandise.
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