Digital Killed The Physical Star:

Whether you want to credit Steve Jobs, the internet or human being’s penchant for instant gratification, for the first time ever digital sales of music ousted that of the physical. Nielsen and Billboard are citing digital percentages at 50.3%, up 8.4% from last year, while physical sales took a 5% dive. The upside of this is that people still bought full copies of digital albums, as opposed to a favorite single – i.e. Adele‘s 21, becoming the first to sell over a million (1.8) within its first year of release. Thus, the album format is not dead. Also, vinyl sales were on the up again, with a growth of 36%, roughly 3.9 million.  Which is less than one percent of the 330.6 million total sales for the year across all mediums. But still, the audiophile nerds are still present. And they coddled Radiohead‘s newspaper album The King of Limbs the most, purchasing over 64,000 copies.

When The Music’s Over:

Meanwhile in digital tuneage news, 2011 breakout Swedish streaming service Spotify is set to limit access to its all-you-can-listen-to format one week from today, effectively forcing its 10 million+ users to decide whether to pay or not to pay (via Business Insider). Catch is you get six months until the party’s over. So only those who signed up with the service on day one will be on deck, come January 14th. All others may have different party-ending dates, but the $4.99/month ad-free desktop and $9.99/month mobile access fees loom. Otherwise, free users are allocated 10 hours a month and a five-spin cap on single tracks before the music’s over.

Here Come The Swedes:

SongLyrics Spotlight darlings First Aid Kit are nearing their January 24th drop date of sophomore effort The Lion’s Roar. Produced by multi-instrumentalist guru Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, The Faint, Rilo Kiley), it looks like the young songbirds have been bitten hard by the neo-American-folk twang bug, judging from this latest single/vid teaser paying homage to Emmylou Harris, Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and June Carter, dubbed “Emmylou.” Then again, we know their affinity for the Fleet Foxes. It’s great to see them influence-backtracking further and further into folk past-times, though. Either way, another promising peak at these rising young songwriters, the sisters yearning, “I’ll be your Emmylou and I’ll be your June/If you’ll be my Gram and Johnny too/You know I’m not asking much of you/Just sing little darlin’ sing with me.”

They Get Up:

Playing to a 250-capacity crowd at Greenich Village’s iconic Cafe Wha?, the David Lee Roth reunion version of Van Halen played to a crowd of virtually every music writer in New York City to promote the band’s upcoming come-back tour and latest record with Roth since 1984, A Different Kind of Truth. Some entertaining things have been said by the lucky few in the crowd, including Spin‘s “15 Most Ridiculous Things About This Ridiculous Van Halen Show” via Steve Kandell’s description of Roth’s train-conductor get-up, and the New York TimesJames C. McKinley Jr.’s anecdotes from fans who couldn’t get into the dinky club. Godspeed, Van Halen.


The Detroit creative that would go on to spawn the eponymous time-traveling machine in Back To The Future, John DeLorean, turns 80 today. Clearly, though, if you haven’t ridden in one of the door-flapping cruisers throating Huey Lewis & The News‘ “The Power of Love,” a tune written specifically to enable Marty McFly on his journey to save his bloodline and go camping in his monster truck with his girl, you don’t know the power of love. “It’s strong and it’s sudden and it’s cruel sometimes,” remember.