New Words For A New World

In a recent article concerning the 2010 first quarter sales of music at retail and online the following was written:

“In examining where album sales occur, the chain category — which includes Best Buy, Borders and Trans World — suffered a 33.8% decline to 19 million units in the first quarter as compared to the 28.7 million in scans that category accounted for in the first quarter of 2009.

Also experiencing shrinking market share, mass merchants like Walmart and Target declined 4.1% to 27.7 million, from the 28.7 million units that category scanned in the first quarter of 2009.

On the plus side, non-traditional — which includes iTunes, Amazon, QVC and concert hall sales — grew 13.3% to 28.7millon, from the 25.5 million units that category scanned in the corresponding period of 2009.”

My question is, when will we as an industry stop referring to the later category as non-traditional?  What is so non-traditional about it?  Who thinks iTunes in not a conventional way of selling music?  Obviously they do not sell hard product, but are we still trying to discount digital sales and double down on the CD?  The outlets refereed to as “non-traditional” are selling just as much as the mass merchants and are killing the chain stores.  Who’s non-traditional now?

How about we rid of the labels?  No, not THOSE labels, I mean the tendency to put retail sales stats into categories of importance.  Our entire industry could use a scrub of using the term non-traditional about anything because it’s all in flux and in play.  It doesn’t do us any good whatsoever.

Sometimes you start believing the words you hear, use, and repeat.  Maybe its finally time to use the right words for a new world.

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2 Responses to New Words For A New World

  1. Roger Ellington says:


    I couldn’t agree more with your assessment. I’ve been working in digital music marketing since 2006. Throughout that time period, I’ve been referred to as Interactive, New Media, and Non-Traditional and a few other things I can’t even mention here. All of these terms mean nothing except to prove that you are misunderstood. Some might say this is a petty argument to make or claim that it’s just words, but I tend to think otherwise. It’s actually a symptom of a much larger problem, which is the music industry’s fear of change, or even worse… their inability to adapt in a relevant timeframe. The fact that it was called Non-Trad to begin with is evidence of a lack of vision. Keep up the good work. I always enjoy your posts.


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