Pixies (@PIXIES) – Blue Eyed Hexe

Pixies are back with their new visual for  Blue Eyed Hexe. Pixies surprised everyone when they released a limited edition EP a vinyl drop is limited to only 4000 copies and comes complete with an audio download plus a black patch-stitched hoodie.

Wale (@Wale) – Stoner (Remix)

MMG’s Wale decides to drop some bars over Young Thug’s track called Stoner produced by Dun Deal.

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“When the time comes for you to leave this earth, if it doesn’t become a lesser place with your absence, then you have wasted your life.”
-Shaun Hick

Digital Music Sales Decrease For First Time in 2013

Digital Music Sales Decrease For First Time in 2013

For the first time since the iTunes store opened its doors, the U.S. music industry finished the year with a decrease in digital music sales.

While the digital track sales decline had been expected due to weaker sales in the first three quarters, the digital album downturn comes as more of a surprise as the album bundle had started out the year with a strong first quarter.

Overall for the full year 2013, digital track sales fell 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units while digital album sales fell 0.1% to 117.6 million units from the previous year’s total of 117.7 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

While industry executives initially refused to attribute the early signs this year of digital sales weakness to the consumer’s growing appetite for streaming, in the second half of the year many were conceding that ad-supported and paid subscription services were indeed cannibalizing digital sales.

While  SoundScan has not yet released its annual streaming numbers numbers, so far industry executives have been reporting that the growth in streaming revenue has been offsetting the decline in digital sales revenue.

Overall, album sales suffered an 8.4% decline, dipping to 289.4 million units from nearly 316 million units in 2012. The CD declined 14.5% to 165.4 million units, down from 193.4 million in the prior year, while vinyl continued its ascension rising to 6 million units from the 4.55 million the format tallied in 2012. That means vinyl is now 2% of album sales in the U.S; digital albums comprise 40.6% and the CD is 57.2% and cassettes and DVDs 0.2%.

Meanwhile, album plus track equivalent albums fell to 415.3 million units, down from 449.5 million units in 2012, which represents a 7.6% drop.

Despite the decline in album sales, million sellers increased in 2013 to 13 titles versus the 10 that passed that milestone the prior year when Adele’s “21” led the way with 4.4 million units followed by Taylor’s Swift;s “Red,” which scanned 3.1 million units. In 2013, only one album sold more than one million units, Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, with 2.4 million units.

The top selling track in 2013 was Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. & Pharrell, which scanned nearly 6.5 million units, followed by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz  with 6.1 million units and Imagine Dragon’s “Radioactive” with 5.5 million units. Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra was the top selling digital song with 6.8 million units the prior year.

In 2013, 106 songs hit million units mark, versus 108 titles that achieved that feat in 2012.

Moving over to market share, the Universal Music Group came in first with 38.9% in albums plus TEA, thanks to its acquisition of the Capitol Music Group, while Sony Music Entertainment finished with 29.5%, and the Warner Music Group tallied 18.7%. While these market share totals are by distribution ownership, where indie labels collectively are calculated as having a 12.3% share, next week’s Billboard will also show market share by label ownership where the indies are expected to have nearly 35% market share.

Moving over to genres, R&B which includes rap was the only genre to post an increase in 2013, with album sales growing 1.2% to 50.7 million from 50.1 million units in 2012, which all things considered is pretty impressive in a year where album sales declined 8.4%. The only other genres to outperform the U.S. album market were EDM, which declined 0.3% to 8.8 million units; and rock, down 5.9% for the year to 100.8 million units.

Despite the decline in digital album sales, download stores like iTunes gained market share growing to 40.6% of U.S album sales, while mass merchants like Target and Walmart saw sales drop 16.3% to about 78 million units and now comprise nearly 27% market share; with chain stores like Best Buy and Trans World seeing sales decline by nearly 20% to 39 million album units to comprise 13.5% market share.

Meanwhile non-traditional CD merchants like Amazon, Starbucks and concert venues saw album sales increase by 2.4% to 36.5 million units; and indie merchants dropped by nearly 12% to 18.3 million units. Respectively, the former comprises 12.6% of album sales while the latter accounts for 6.3%.

Sheikh buys world’s most expensive yacht

Among all the items billionaires buy with their money, high-class mega-yachts dominate the top-10 list of the most expensive luxury purchases, according to Wealth-X.

Luxury vessels take up eight of the top 10 slots, with the world’s largest mega-yacht, the Azzam, ranking at the top of the list.

The 590-foot yacht was purchased in 2013 for a reported $627 million by the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan — a price that would mean the vessel is worth around 3.5 percent of the Sheikh’s net worth of around $17.9 billion, said Wealth-X, which researches the ultra-wealthy.

The Katara, a 124 meters superyacht (© Valery Hache/AFP/Getty Images

The $627 million price-tag for the Azzam, which is also the world’s fastest yacht over 300 feet long with a top speed of 37 miles per hour, overtook the previous largest yacht, the $485 million Eclipse, Wealth-X said. Owned by Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, the Eclipse was ranked number three on the list of most expensive luxury assets, coming in at around 4 percent of the total estimated net worth of Abramovich.

The Eclipse features two helicopter pads, 11 guest cabins, two swimming pools, exterior fireplace and a dance hall, as well as coming equipped with intruder detection systems, a German-built missile defense system, and bullet-proof glass and armor plating in the master suite and bridge. It can accommodate up to 30 guests and 75 crew.

The 440-foot Serene, which features seven decks, two helicopter landing platforms, storage for a large submarine and a large internal swimming pool, ranks at number four on Wealth-X’s list. The yacht, owned by Yury Shefler is valued at $330 million, suggesting the founder of the company that makes Stolichnaya Vodka stretched his finances a bit for the purchase as it would mark around 20 percent of his estimated net worth, according to the Wealth-X list.

To be sure, real estate can’t be written off. The second-most-expensiv​e luxury asset is Lanai Island in Hawaii, purchased by Oracle founder Larry Ellison for $500 million and representing around 1 percent of his estimated net worth of $46.4 billion.

Lest you worry that Ellison isn’t cruising the high seas with his fellow billionaires, he is part owner of the 454-foot Rising Sun. Although it doesn’t rank on Wealth-X’s top-10 list, the yacht houses 16 guests and 45 crew and cost an estimated $200 million to build.

The Monaco home of Dmitry Rybolovlev tied with another yacht for eighth place on the list, with the real estate having a price tag of $286 million, coming in at 2.5 percent of his estimated net worth.

But while yachts may rank among the most expensive toys, their sales and prices have been on a downtrend.

Deliveries of super-yachts — those more than 30 meters, or around 98 feet — fell to 169 in 2012. This was down from the boom-time level of 261 seen in 2008, according to the Yachting Index from Superyacht Times and Camper & Nicholsons.

Overall, prices are down about 20 percent since 2008, and the number of super-yachts being built has also fallen.

Some Russian and Middle Eastern buyers of very large yachts — those over 250 feet — have continued to place orders. The average size of yachts ordered also continues to increase. But the mass of U.S. boating enthusiasts who were buying 120-foot and 150-foot boats in the peak years of 2007 and 2008 has yet to return.