Music News: Compact disc sales drop to 1986 numbers

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A compact disc player advertisement from the 1980s
A compact disc player advertisement from the 1980s (Technics)

Music fans who were around in the '80s remember when the compact disc was billed as the future of music — and so it was, but now the reflective digital discs are becoming a thing of the past. New data from the Recording Industry Association of America indicate that last year, only 99.4 million CDs were sold. That sounds like a lot, but it makes 2016 the first year since 1986 when CD sales didn't break 100 million.

Record labels' bank accounts bulged during the 1990s, when CDs were flying off the shelves — with many older fans replacing LPs, thus paying twice for the same music. Total music sales revenue in 2016 was $7.7 billion, only about half of what it was at its peak in 1999.

Still, the decline has finally been reversed by a rise in streaming subscriptions, which last year, for the first time, accounted for over half the total sum that U.S. consumers paid for recorded music. Thanks to the streaming boom, overall recording industry revenue last year was up 11% from 2015. (New York Times)

Bob Dylan paid tribute to Woody Guthrie (again)

In 1961, Bob Dylan left Minnesota to visit a dying Woody Guthrie in a New Jersey hospital. Last year, it's been revealed, Dylan took another trip to pay homage to his late idol: he visited the Woody Guthrie Center in Tulsa. The fact that Guthrie's archives are housed in Oklahoma helped inspire Dylan to sell his own personal archives to the University of Tulsa — which is building a Bob Dylan Center to house the material. (MPR News)

A Tribe Called Quest release new video

A Tribe Called Quest have released a new video for their song "Dis Generation." Hiro Murai (Atlanta) directed the clip, which "finds the camera panning slowly over several seemingly endless settings, moving from a subway platform filled with travelers and buskers to a crowded concert hall and finally a bustling city block," notes Rolling Stone. "Q-tip, Jarobi, and Busta Rhymes weave in and out of each scene, trading bars and dancing whenever the voice of the late Phife Dawg plays overhead."

Stars join bill for Merle memorial

A star-studded lineup is coming together for a Merle Haggard tribute concert to be held April 6 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The show will feature — take a deep breath — Keith Richards, Sheryl Crow, Willie Nelson, John Mellencamp, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert, Dierks Bentley, Loretta Lynn, Toby Keith, Hank Williams Jr., Kacey Musgraves, Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Anderson, Bobby Bare, the Avett Brothers, Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson, Ronnie Dunn, Alabama, Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Warren Haynes, Lucinda Williams, and Connie Smith. Yes, the concert will be filmed for future release. (Rolling Stone)

America's got Tallent

That's how Rolling Stone put it in a tweet about the first-ever solo tour by Garry Tallent. Best known as the bassist in Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band — where he's the only living member to have been continuously with the band since it first came together in 1972 — Tallent stepped out last year with a debut solo LP, Break Time. The 14-date U.S. tour doesn't include any Minnesota stops, but there will be a show at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey on May 12. Think any special guests might show up? (Rolling Stone)

Remembering Arthur Blythe

Jazz saxophonist Arthur Blythe has died of Parkinson's disease at age 76. In the late '70s and early '80s, Blythe achieved renown for his avant-garde stylings. "He is sly," wrote a New York Times critic in 1977. "He teases the beat, toys with polyrhythms and leaves gaping holes in the fabric of the music, only to come roaring back in with plangent held tones or crisp, punching riffs."


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