Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Lady Gaga Sells Lots of Cheap Music–And Full-Priced Music, Too

Who knew we could learn so much from Lady Gaga? The pop star* has taught us two lessons this week:

  • People will still buy music if it’s really, really cheap. Billboard says that Amazon sold 440,000 digital copies of her new “Born This Way” album at $0.99 each. The e-commerce giant sold 330,000 copies on Monday, even though demand for promotion blew its servers up, and 110,000 more copies on Thursday, when it repeated the stunt.
  • People will still buy music if they’re really, really interested in a particular act. Billboard also says Lady Gaga is set to sell 1.15 million albums total this week. Which means that buyers are paying full price for some 700,000 of them.
  • Bonus lesson, because we already knew it, but it’s good to remember anyway: People are still buying CDs! Billboard also projects that Apple’s iTunes will account for 200,000 units sold by the end of the week. Add in Amazon’s totals and you get to 640,000 digital albums sold. Which means that Americans will have bought more than 500,000 good old-fashioned compact discs this week, too.

Have you bought a CD in the last year? Do you know anyone who has? Me neither. But someone is: A decade after Napster, discs still account for a majority of the music industry’s revenues.

And now, because I’m tired of embedding Lady Gaga videos in Lady Gaga posts, something old-timey:

*Really. I know. It’s weird, right? At least for people of a certain age, and I am one of those people. But whatevs, as I believe the kids say.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald