Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Can the end-of-year sales myth survive this season?

Warning: this is a piece which mentions the C word. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to turn to the film reviews now. Yes, Christmas is coming. For the record industry, Christmas is the most important season of the …

Fri, Sep 7, 2012, 08:43

   

Warning: this is a piece which mentions the C word. Readers of a sensitive disposition might want to turn to the film reviews now. Yes, Christmas is coming.

For the record industry, Christmas is the most important season of the year. It’s why you will get so many major releases jostling for shelf-space and coverage in the next few weeks.

Acts like Two Door Cinema Club, Mumford & Sons, The Killers, The Script, The xx and many more have cued their new albums up for release in the last quarter of the year because this is when the vast bulk of punters go out and actually buy music.


Stocking fillers: new albums from The xx and The Script

It’s also make-or-break time for the retail sector. Over a few short weeks in December, record shops will do more business than they’ve done all year. The shops won’t want to think just yet about what might happen in January or if they will still be standing come February or if HMV will still be on the High Street by March.

What’s remarkable to note is that there’s still an industry-wide myth about end-of-year sales. All involved know that sales are slumping like never before – it’s no longer just Ireland where you can score a chart hit with an unfeasibly low tally of sales – yet the labels still push all their big releases into this end-of-year cluster.

It stands to reason that a big bunch of releases at the same time will not result in a rising tide for all those acts. It also stands to reason that a sales slump often occurs when there’s nothing to buy.

As the UK-based Entertainment Retailers Association noted this week, the first half of 2012 has one of the weakest release schedules retailers can remember in both music and video games. If that trend continues, more shops will go out of business and that Christmas rush may become a thing of the past.

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