How Mozart outsold Beyonce in CD sales in 2016 Mozart sold the largest number of CDs in 2016. (Wikimedia Commons/AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
How Mozart outsold Beyonce in CD sales in 2016
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During 2016, Adele, Kanye West, Beyonce and Drake all did more than fine when it came to selling their music. But when it came to selling good old-fashioned compact discs, buyers went decidedly old school. According to Lars Brandle at Billboard, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart sold the largest number of CDs. Some 1.25 million discs were sold since the classical composer's box set was released. That was Oct. 28.
 
No, it doesn't signify some cultural shift. However, recent reports show young people are becoming pretty big squares. The rise of Mozart to the top of the charts comes from what might be a technicality. Decca, Deuthsche Gramophone and the Salzburg Mozarteum Foundation collaborated on Mozart 225. They created what may be the most epic boxed set of music ever produced. It is a $500, 200-CD compilation. It includes every scrap of music Mozart ever wrote down. The limited edition set sold 6,250 units in its first five weeks. That translates into 1.25 million CDs. And that puts it at the top of the charts.
 
The set was released to celebrate the 225th anniversary of Mozart's death. It is record-setting in many other ways. Music critic A.J. Goldman at The Wall Street Journal reports that it weighs in at 25 pounds. It includes 4,000 tracks and 240 hours of music. Those include some of the great performances of the last 100 years and alternate versions performed on period instruments. Goldman writes that he admires the set. But he wonders who the audience for it really is.
 
"Admittedly, there is something admirable about such an obsessive approach. But how many people will want to listen to six discs of Handel arrangements," he writes.
 
Still, the set has hit a nerve with Mozart fanatics.
 
"It is wonderful to see the reaction to this box set, which is the fruit of years of scholarship, planning and curation," Paul Moseley, the director of Mozart 225, tells Brandle. "Mozart's immortal melodies, no less than the Beatles or Abba, are in some way part of all our lives. And this edition is the perfect way to celebrate that on his 225th anniversary."
 
It may seem like a crazy fluke that classical music has overtaken pop music in CD sales. But Jordan Passman at Forbes reports that it makes sense. Sales of physical CDs hit a record low of 50 million in 2016. That was an 11 percent drop from 2015. On the other hand, streaming services and digital downloads for pop music are hitting new highs. Passman points out that while many music listeners are moving to those digital services, classical music fans are sticking by CDs. Those are still the standard format for most listeners.
 
Passman also says this collection is selling because of its novelty.
 
"While you could easily carry this entire collection on a thumb drive or upload it to the cloud, there's still a charm and romanticism in the concept of holding the tangible product. Especially when it's a collection or anthology," he writes.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why might music on CD outsell music in digital format?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (75)
  • sterlingt-
    3/06/2017 - 08:40 a.m.

    how did mozart get more cds brought then beyonce cds?

  • antonioc1222-
    3/06/2017 - 08:40 a.m.

    It might outsell on digital format because you have to find the right one and make sure its not edited and for CD its right there so you don't have to search for it.

  • seyonniek-
    3/06/2017 - 08:42 a.m.

    a CD may outsell a digital format because that's what most people like these days.Like most people would rather have a CD rather than somebody go on stage and perform only because everything will be more loud and the people up front are like right by the speakers but the people all the way in the back can rarely hear.The only really great thing out of it is that you get to me a famous person but then again the CD you can turn up and down all you want to the volume you feel that you like.

  • devynm13-
    3/06/2017 - 08:45 a.m.

    classical music fans are sticking by CDs. Those are still the standard format for most listeners because itunes rearranges the way it sounds.

  • jourdanc-
    3/06/2017 - 08:45 a.m.

    maybe they are better.

  • breannad-bur
    3/06/2017 - 12:41 p.m.

    Music on CD outsells music in digital format sometimes. It could be because more people appreciate the old music writers, and that is the only form they come in, or maybe even because more people are starting to work, and like to listen to classical music while they do their work. This can include homework, work in an office, work from home, or even working in small, enclosed spaces.

  • katherinel1-bur
    3/06/2017 - 12:45 p.m.

    CD music may outsell digital music because it is the most original format of music and is easier to work for older generations. I know my grandma wouldn't ever be able to work an iPhone.

  • breannad-bur
    3/06/2017 - 12:53 p.m.

    I was personally very surprised by the title of this article. I know Mozart was really famous and all, but against, Beyonce, there was absolutely no way in my mind that Mozart would win. Well, now I know. Mozart is better than Beyonce. I would have never thought of that. Wow.

  • victoriaa-bur
    3/06/2017 - 12:59 p.m.

    Music on CD might outsell music in digital format because people like old school listening more. They prefer old and retro ways instead of present things like digital format. This article was interesting and informative. I don't think me or anyone else would've thought that Mozart would sellout Beyonce.

  • jnyahp-bur
    3/06/2017 - 01:03 p.m.

    Because when your music is streamed digitally, You have to get at the least 9 million streams to even earn a quarter! Rather, your team is making your CD and every amount made goes to you, than sharing it with "Spotify". With this, Its why celebs go on tour because their albums only make them like pennies..

    The title confused me immensely. But now i know it was on a techinalcallity

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