Adele's third album 25 is shattering all sorts of records, and is now officially the most successful first week release of all time, selling 3 million copies in the US alone.
This historic, irrefutable success is challenging conventional wisdom and fueling a tired, but fascinating conversation over the future of the recorded music business. The Adele camp's decision not to initially release 25 to streaming services has only intensified the discourse.
Is there still a place for ownership and album sales in an increasingly access-driven streaming world? Or is Adele's 25 simply an outlier, the dying gasp of a moribund business model?
Here are two reasoned, divergent opinions to consider:
Music Business Worldwide
Music Business Worldwide Editorial Staff
Instead of being emboldened and inspired by an album's ability to send a boggling chunk of the world purchase-loopy, why are we manufacturing alibis for its success?
Is a blockbuster LP's global impact now so daunting to some music execs that when it is blindingly in evidence, it is actively discriminated against - even dismissed?
The New Yorker
John Seabrook, author of The Song Machine: Inside The Hit Factory
Album sales are profitable, but they are not the future of the music business—streaming is. Could it be possible that the record business, pursuing a strategy of inflating sales by keeping an album off Spotify, Apple Music, or Deezer, is choosing short-term profits over long-term growth? (Perish the thought!) That would be consistent with the industry’s attitude toward its potential tech partners, going back to its failure to join forces with Napster in 2001 and killing Napster instead.