CD sales plunged more than 20% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, and online music sales didn't come close to making up the difference. Closing stores, weak albums, and over a billion songs shared illegally every month combined to deliver the sharpest downturn yet to the slumping music industry.
Sales are so dismal that music industry insiders are beginning to look at CDs as a tool to sell more lucrative items like tickets and t-shirts, rather than as a primary product. "It's the vehicle that drives the tour, the merchandise, building the brand, and that's it.," says artist manager Jeff Rabhan. "There's no money."