the end of… the album (as we know it)? three articles on the demise of the download…

Cosmo, on a lazy Sunday afternoon… awakened by… opera!

This is a trend I’ve posted and commented on here on the blog a few times in the past but now it appears we are rapidly approaching the end of the download on some of the largest online music outlets, specifically, Apple iTunes. The music download, which had appeared to be so strong even only just a few short years ago, is going the way of the CD… and vinyl before it. Downloads are now becoming a niche market, just like CD and vinyl, and will soon be found only on music outlets such as CD Baby and Bandcamp. First quarter of 2019, as Apple outlined, is looking like the timeframe for this to occur. In part, this is due to the success of their streaming service Apple Music, which now is generating more revenue than Spotify.

Check out the three articles below, first from Digital Music News on the impending demise of the music download: 

The second, from Forbes, taken from the RIAA’s (Recording Industry Association of America) annual year-end report:

And the third, from Billboard on CD sales: 

Granted, a couple of these articles appeared much earlier in the year but one can assume that for CDs and downloads, and specifically album downloads, the trends haven’t reversed themselves since then.

I’ll throw in an additional article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette which asks the musical question “should you hang on to your CDs”:

  • The takeaways from all these developments would appear to be obvious:
    Streaming has now become the de facto medium for recorded music and appears to be the endgame… for now. I had mentioned this in a post from 6 years ago, although it didn’t really occur to me at the time that the download would go away (and it won’t, completely).
    As far as streaming being the endgame, it has been the self-perpetuating nature of the music industry to come up with new delivery formats along the way as technology evolved, so I suppose eventually, something may come along to replace streaming. Except that the streaming platform really didn’t come from the music industry, did it? That came from the tech industry. What new medium could replace streaming? Right now, I think most people don’t know.
  • Albums sell more on the physical format – CD – than on downloads and are most effective sales-wise, but only when the CD is released on the album’s street date. If artists don’t release a CD on the street date, they’re leaving money on the table… And then retail outlets like Best Buy pull their CD stock off the shelves.
    There is this, however, from the Forbes article: “People have been saying for a long time that the physical album is done, but the category is responsible for more money coming into the music industry than digital album and song sales combined.”
    And this from Billboard: ““If we had CDs on those albums, the [format’s] sales numbers would tell a different story,” Newbury Comics head of purchasing Carl Mello tells Billboard. “When 90 percent of the most popular music [hip-hop] in America doesn’t show up on CD, of course sales will be down. Duh.”
  • There is no music industry “recovery”. The tech industry has effectively hijacked the music industry. Or, maybe as one label executive has said, “[the labels] are reacting to what’s happening in the marketplace, not causing it.”
    I tend to think that’s the case.
    Until some new/revamped format replaces streaming, any recovery has been put on hold. Indefinitely.
  • If there’s any music or any albums you need to download, you should probably do it by the end of the year, and also back up downloads you have purchased in the past (blank CDs are good for this… you can still get them at Office Depot/Office Max and online). Just sayin’…
    After that it appears that CD Baby, Bandcamp, and eMusic will be the last refuge for digital downloads (and most of their inventory is independent or emerging artists… hey, like me!).
  • And to answer the question of whether you should hang on to those CDs (or vinyl, cassettes, or anything else other than 8-tracks)… well, do you listen to CDs? Keep ’em. Did you have vinyl, sell or get rid of it in favor of CDs, only to regret it later? Do you have downloads? Back ’em up. Streaming is hot now… but for how long?… ‘Til the next “hot” format comes along?
    Remember that the music industry has historically made and continues to make a significant chunk of their money from selling the music consumer the same music over and over again, just in different formats.
    And please, continue to purchase music… rather than or in addition to streaming. Thanks!
    I’ll leave you with this from musician Danny Michel to illustrate what streaming has actually done within the music biz:

Nights on Venus news:
Currently, I am continuing work in the new studio, recording and mixing songs for Nights on Venus’ next full-length album which will be my 6th full-length album… entitled “Late Night Meditations in/on Suburbia” (yeah, it keeps morphing a bit), set for release in 2019. It has taken a while to get back in a groove after the move, almost 5 months ago, much longer than expected, but I think I’m there now… only to be interrupted by the holidays of course, but I’m taking everything right now as a work in progress in this, a transitional year, year-and-a-half, or for however long our interim residence in the suburban hinterlands will be and it’s all coming together. There is new music posted on SoundCloud – excerpts from the forthcoming album and you can find it here:

Includes the already-released single “The Wheels Are Coming Off” from this past June, 2018. I will be adding to the playlist over the coming months.

Cover artwork for the 3-song single/EP “Snow Day”, which was released on December 23rd, 2017. Available on all digital media outlets…
Cover artwork for the “The Wheels Are Coming Off” single, released on June 12, 2018. Click for the larger image…

The most recent releases from Nights on Venus are the 2-song single, “The Wheels Are Coming Off“, released this past summer, and the 3-song single/EP, “Snow Day“, from December, 2017.

The most recent full-length release “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in the summer of 2017 and includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. All albums/singles/EPs from Nights on Venus are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, Amazon MP3. and the NoV website.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.





the annual christmas post: merry christmas and happy holidays from craig & erin from la casa NoV in golden, CO…

‘Tis the day before Christmas and all through the house
All the shoppin’s been done so we don’t have to go out…

It’s a balmy 19° F (-7.2° C) here in Golden today with the sun shining brightly and snow on the ground. It feels like Christmas.

Golden, Christmas Eve
The King Soopers parking lot in Golden before the Broncos’ game, Christmas Eve, 2017… all Bronco apparel 50% off.

The 3-song EP, Snow Day, was released yesterday on a day when it was snowing – yes, completely planned of course – and is now available as a free download on Bandcamp. You can listen to it here… just click on the ‘Download’ link in the player below and you’re there. In the ‘Name Your Price’ field, enter ‘0’, and add to Cart, and it’s yours free, through 12/30. Merry Christmas to you and thanks for listening.

Snow Day will be released on CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3 and the streaming services this next week, by New Year’s 2018.

The release of this EP finishes up the release of songs – at least for the time being – recorded during the “We Are All Haunted…” sessions from April, 2016 through early 2017. It was actually one of the most prolific creative periods of my life. 32 songs were recorded during that time for the album; at least 10 more of those songs will be released at a later date, probably in a boxed CD set (yes, really… there will be one) when the budget allows.

For now, it’s Christmas, it’s the holidays and we celebrate and enjoy chilling out for a few days. Ski season is upon us now in Colorado and Erin and I will be going up to A-Basin in a couple of weeks. It will be a very busy ski season for us the next 3 months and I’m looking forward to it. For the first time in my long skiing life I will be wearing a helmet.

Today/tomorrow, I’ll be listening to Marshall Crenshaw’s first album from 1982 (which I’m doing right now because it is a classic and this album means a great deal to me, for 35 years now… see my post from Dec. 16, 2011), and drinking some Harvey’s Bristol Cream sherry, this peculiar tradition courtesy of dad from Christmases past all those years at the house on Northwood Rd. back in Dallas. He’d break it out in the morning and we’d partake into the afternoon until he and mom drifted off into sleep. I raise a glass and toast to you…

And then there’s 24 hours of Ralphie coming up… A Christmas Story. I didn’t even know about this movie, which was originally released in 1984, and had never seen it until my girlfriend/fiancé at the time introduced me to it in 2001. Now it’s a yearly thing. Funny how that works. Nostalgia can be a dangerous drug (or a random wave)…

…Much later in the day now. WordPress will show this as posted on December 25th but it’s still Christmas Eve here. We’ve watched the Cowboy game – a very lackluster effort in which they lost 21-12 to Seattle and was a complete waste of about 3 hours – and then It’s a Wonderful Life interspersed with the first installment of A Christmas Story on TBS which was considerably more satisfying. The latter will be on tomorrow most of the day, in the background, in an ambient sort of way. And there will be the traditional grilling of the ribeye steaks – no turkey or Chinese for us. It’s supposed to warm up into the 30s tomorrow.

Cosmo, alert as ever, guarding the tree…

And Santa is on his way in, now that I-70 is open again in the high country after last night’s storm…

Santa on a snowboard, courtesy of Copper Mountain via Instagram…

So from Erin and I, we wish you a Merry Christmas and the very best during this holiday season wherever you are and whatever you may celebrate.

“Be sure to drink your Ovaltine…
and Peace on Earth, goodwill towards men…”

Album cover for “We Are All Haunted by Something”, scheduled for release in July 23, 2017. This is the old abandoned Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico – shot taken in 2009. The image of the night sky is from Justin Marsh, added with his permission.
“Speed of Life” single, released on 10/9/16…

The most recent full-length album, “We Are All Haunted by Something” was released in July, 2017. Includes the 2-song single “Speed of Life” and “Confirm Humanity (I’m Not a Robot)”. Now available on iTunes, Bandcamp, CD Baby, and Amazon MP3.

Speed of Life“,Unearthly, Santos and all previous Nights on Venus albums are available as MP3 digital downloads on Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon MP3, and also the NoV Website.

Cover artwork for “Unearthly”… photo/design by CCT
My two Reverends… “Goldenboy” on the left (a Rocco from 2002), and “Prince” (a Charger LE with the P-90 pickups from 2014) – not purple, but it came to me from Minnesota.

Follow Craig and Nights on Venus on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

And remember:
“Everything popular is wrong.”
– Oscar Wilde