Daft Punk Album Sales Plunge 73 Percent In Week Two…

This, more than anything, explains why a band like Daft Punk is focused on download sales — not streaming — during its initial sales windows.  And why iTunes got the exclusive, ‘promotion,’ first dibs, or whatever you want to call it.

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And, in case you were wondering, a majority of these album sales are downloads (with most happening through iTunes).

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Sales counted by Nielsen Soundscan, and shared with Digital Music News by major label executive sources.

Written while listening to El Perro del Mar.

35 Responses

  1. discography

    Um, really? Are you just too busy hasseling Diddy’s folks over $150 to bother doing anything other than filler? Don’t let the success get to your head and go on cruise control…
    Whether its music, movies (Theatrical and home video) or books, there has always been a second week plunge. That is the nature of the beast once the built up initial demand has been satisfied. To suggest this has anything to do with Spotify vs. Napster when this behavior was evident when people were going to freakin’ nickelodeons is just silly and pretentious at best.
    You have an axe to grind? Fine. But don’t be surprised when people stop showing up to your sermons.

    • derpa

      …are you reading a different blog?

      WTF does your comment have anything to do with the article above?

      • Champion

        This was correctly identified as today’s thinly-veiled streaming hit-piece on DMN. His comment was spot on.

  2. GGG

    I think everyone is still focused on download sales, they just have different philosophies of what they should do regarding streaming. I think for a lot of people Spotify can be seen as a piracy deterrent more than, or as much as, a sale eater. And other people the opposite. I don’t think anyone is aiming to capitalize on streaming in the sense of making that their main revenue stream, just in the sense of well, it’s there…

  3. Ghost of Rick Ross

    He’s just making a really simple point, y’all…

    • discography

      If that point was to be pointless, maybe.
      Its just more ad nauseum hits on streaming and bastardizing correlation equaling causation to absurd ends that would make politicians proud.
      The fact is there is nearly a century of this behavior to fall back on before there was even a freakin ENIAC computer, let a lone Spotify.

  4. DUDE

    So how does this second week plunge compare with other similar, current releases? How much did Vampire Weekend, for example, drop off after the first week?
    While we’re at it, how does it compare with dropoffs in second week sales 10 years or 20 years ago, when there was no streaming?
    How am I supposed to infer any meaning from this statistic without CONTEXT?
    Would it kill you to do some actual research and maybe think before you post instead of shitting out knee-jerk bullshit blaming everything on piracy and streaming?

    • Dive Clavis

      Right, because DMN needs to spoon feed you every last detail. Think.

      • GGG

        Uh..adding more context to give a random stat meaning is a little more than a detail. Not to mention, a news site SHOULD spoon feed you some details. That’s called….you know….journalism. If we all knew the same info Paul does, we wouldn’t be here.

        • Paul Resnikoff

          I think it’s a valid complaint that my pieces often leave things out (often on purpose). In this instance, there’s the important question of what a typical week two looks like.
          The point I’m making here is that Daft Punk’s second week isn’t atypical for major, superstar-level artists, and goes a long way towards explaining why there’s such an emphasis on maximizing first-week sales (revenues). Which goes a long way towards explaining emerging strategies towards iTunes (exclusive stream baiting pre-order).
          I’d be careful here, though: not every artist has big, smashing first-week sales, especially emerging artists. But there is still some semblance of a ‘release date’ left, and look no further than the massive marketing and positioning that Daft Punk and other artists will invest to maximize impact around these dates.
          Then, we can toss out all the rules for artists like Adele, a massive Spotify holdout whose actual album download sales remained remarkably strong for months and months on end.

          • GGG

            Right, I understand what you were saying and I cared less about missing info on this article than I have in others. But I just think it’s unfair to pick out one example of something to try and make your point, which is basically always Spotify sucks haha. And really, it’s just about having good info to debate over. I’m not such a Spotify fan that I’d defend it if something proved it was significantly detrimental. So it’d be nice to see these numbers next to an emerging artist, next to someone who held out a week, etc. Just for comparison to start to really read into the numbers. And yes, I can find that all out myself, but, I’d rather have you do it haha.

          • Champion

            More solid examples of mixing up correlation and causation abound in this comment.

          • Paul Resnikoff

            I’m not effectively delivering my core point, I don’t think. This piece is mostly about revenue maximization strategies across time windows, and an attempt to clearly show why a group like Daft Punk chooses to steer traffic towards paid downloads in the initial window (ie, pre-orders). It is designed to offer more background into the strategic thinking here.
            What’s interesting is that Spotify has clearly acknowledged that this strategy exists. It’s not anti-Spotify to point this out, though it’s not a cheerleading exercise, either.
            As to the causation/correlation aspect, Daft Punk is clearly demonstrating that they believe streaming on a platform like Spotify would erode first-week paid downloads, which command a higher amount of revenue. Otherwise, there would be no reason to restrict Spotify access and give iTunes a pre-release exclusive (or whatever terminology you choose to apply).
            That’s not Digital Music News making that call, it’s Daft Punk. We’re just showing what’s going on, and highlighting what may become a much larger trend.

          • Champion

            This isn’t some brand new strategy. NPR has been streaming releases early for years now. Most of the releases that NPR streams are not also streaming early on iTunes and go up for sale on iTunes when the album is released. Does this mean these bands have made a decision to maximize their NPR revenue and let iTunes get sloppy seconds? No, that would be a very stupid thing to think, but yet it’s the same logic you are using here.
            You seem to be suggesting that Daft Punk has had to react and come up with this new technique because most sales are now happening in the first week. It is mixing up correlation and causation because first week sales have always been higher. It’s a silly argument that has nothing to do with Spotify, except that you clearly have an agenda here.
            You also can’t have this argument both ways: If streaming music for free (ala iTunes) isn’t killing download sales, then how is streaming music for revenue (ala Spotify) killing download sales?

          • danwriter

            Think of the comments section as NPR meets talk radio. Reasonable assertions are made but some readers only pick up on key words (i.e., “Spotify,” etc.), which then incite tangential, often vitriolic — although occasionally also insightful — responses.

          • Music Man

            I don’t know if I would make that assumption on the part of Daft Punk, Paul.
            I think the idea of an iTunes exclusive is for first week sales, definitely. But the reasoning is that each sale on iTunes pays way more than a stream on Spotify. There’s also the pre-order link that was right in your face during the iTunes exclusive stream. Also consider that first week sales = charting on Billboard = additional press coverage. This is the purpose of iTunes exclusives: To enhance sales and awareness around the album. Let’s also not forget the consideration that iTunes provided: The first thing you saw when you opened the iTunes store was the double helmet Daft Punk album (before and after the exclusive).
            I don’t think it has as much to do with streaming as it does general promotion.

          • DUDE

            Thx for the response, I think that’s a totally fair point but its not what I was getting from the article. The way it was written made it seem like this was bad or unexpected rather than something totally expected that informed Daft Punk & Columbia’s marketing strategy for the first week
            I will refrain from rage commenting in the future in case Im wrong again though

  5. Yves Villeneuve

    A 73% sales decline in second week is not necessarily a good thing.
    I like the first single but the rest of the album might not be catching on. Note: did not stream or buy the album so cannot provide an accurate personal overview.
    Declines of 70% or less in the second week is more indicative of an album with greater potential, in my opinion.
    I am wondering if streaming increased or decreased comparatively in the second week. Are the services brave enough to tell us?
    By the way, Rhapsody has expanded very recently into more markets like the Scandinavian and other important European countries where Deezer and Spotify compete. 25 free streams per month for Rhapsody non-subscribers. Will DMN be reporting this expansion?

    • GGG

      Spotify makes stream numbers public now, so you could find out if streams went up or down or stayed the same if you or someone recording that data.

      • HansH

        You can check the # of streams over the last few weeks here:

        No plunging as far as I can tell.

        • Yves Villeneuve

          Thanks Hans. Difficult to know if more people are streaming the album or only last week’s streamers are streaming this week.

          • Champion

            People don’t listen to a good song only once, which is one of the biggest reasons why comparing per-stream revenue to per-download revenue has always been one of the dumbest metrics ever.
            Every single song from Daft Punk’s album is in the top 40 on Spotify.

    • Yves Villeneuve

      I would like to add to my original comment.
      Important to note the unusually heavy iTunes promotion might have shifted more 2nd week purchases onto the first therefore the % decline might not be indicative of the album having any legs.
      It might be wise to watch the third week numbers though I’m not an avid watcher of the third week.

    • Casey

      The Rhapsody expansion was mentioned somewhere, but it got buried and dropped off the rss feed before I could comment on it and probably before most people could see it.

      Rhapsody has had 25 free plays per month at various times in the past. It proved successful as far as I know, but now days people are hard to please with such a small amount. To a person testing out a music service, they are unlikely to listen to the tracks in their entirety. 25 free plays probably doesn’t last most people much more than an hour. Since the invent of Spotify, 25 plays has been reduced to peanuts.

      • Yves Villeneuve

        Rhapsody’s free 25 streams per month is for non-subscribers.
        They do have a free trial subscription to extensively test the service for those seriously considering a paid sub. Don’t know the details of this free trial.

  6. Johnny Lansky

    By what percentage do page views plummet after the first week?

  7. David

    Presumably advance orders are counted in the first week’s sales? If so, a much-anticipated album is bound to have a big first week compared to later weeks. Comparing week 2 with week 3, 4, etc, is a better test of an album’s ‘legs’.

    • Yves Villeneuve

      My bad. Did not read your insightful post before correcting mine. Should have left original as is.

  8. Champion

    Hard-hitting stuff here.
    Iron Man 3 performed better during its opening weekend than it did the following week. Clearly the movie industry is dying!
    Or this is just how it’s always been? Popular things see a spike in sales as pent-up demand is satisfied, and then they taper off. The same thing was happening with CD releases in the pre-internet era. Keep up the great work, Paul!

  9. old school industry dude

    i have been a reader of DMN since I became aware of it. never before have i felt a stronger urge to comment so here it goes: Paul is keenly aware of what is compeltely obvious to anybody who has actually MADE MONEY in the record industry. which is that once physical purchases of music became ‘absurd’ to a huge portion of the listening audience, music industry revenues went DOWN. WAY DOWN.
    if suddenly the ‘physical’ purchase of milk and eggs was suddenly able to be replaced by ‘free download’, ‘piracy’ or ‘streaming’, where exactly do you think those industries would be today?
    everything else makes for interesting debate and discussion, but the bottom line is that the ‘digital age’ of music sales has been catastrophic for the industry. if you think that’s a good thing, well, that’s because you never made your living off of music sales. (or provided jobs for people who helped you do so.)

    • GGG

      I don’t think anyone disagrees the digital age has been financially terrible for the industry. The problem is there seems to be two trains of thought; People who realize the industry is in a shit whole and look for ways to make money utilizing technology and by understanding culture, and those who realize the industry is in a shit whole and bitch about how nobody buys CDs anymore. Instead of working together we all just yell at each other and complain about different things.
      If you can think of a way to get people to buy CDs for $20 again, then please, tell us all. Or, hell, if you can figure out a way to get people to buy $10 album downloads, tell us, and you’ll be crowned king. The real bottom line is we as an industry have to figure out what can drive music consumption. Is it $5 albums? 20 cent songs? Subscription streaming? Fines for illegal downloads? Who knows. The only thing that I know for sure is that we won’t get back to a heyday of the industry by whining.

  10. kb

    I might be going off ther point slightly, but even before i read the article, I felt the answer to the question, which, admittedly wasn’t actually posed was…. 73% drop-off in sales because the album is CRAP, and after one week, word’s got out so nobody in their right mind is going to buy it.
    The fact that the album sold so well in its first week shows the continued power of astute marketing. I don’t know if this is a triumph for spotify, legal downloads or something else, but looking at the list of musical dignitaries who appear on the album, i think the band had only one thing in mind…. to shift units, regardless of how long it took them.