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Ad Age- ‘NOW! That’s What I Call Music!’ Isn’t Ready to Say ‘Bye Bye Bye’

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    Ad Age- ‘NOW! That’s What I Call Music!’ Isn’t Ready to Say ‘Bye Bye Bye’ Ad Age- ‘NOW! That’s What I Call Music!’ Isnt Saying Bye

    4/17/18

    By Megan Graham | April 16, 2018

    In the nearly 20 years since British-born "Now That's What I Call Music!" series began selling compilation CDs in the U.S., competition has gotten fierce. Streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora compile their own playlists for listeners, often automatically and instantly. Nobody has needed Now Music, in the U.S. a joint venture between Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, to scrape hits from longer records since iTunes started selling 99-cent downloads.

    As a result, "Now That's What I Call Music 65" sold only 25,000 physical and digital copies in its first week this February, down from 525,000 debut-week sales for "Now That's What I Call Music 6"—the 2001 album that included the 'NSync smash hit.
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    While the same trends have affected the entire industry, Justin Timberlake's "Man of the Woods," by comparison, sold 242,000 copies during its first week this February.

    Yet Now is knee-deep in planning both a release marking its 20th anniversary this year and its first concert series. It still enjoys good placement in stores like Target and Walmart, and its albums typically sell 250,000 copies over time—80 percent in the form of physical CDs—good for more than 1.5 million record sales a year. The brand's peak year was 2001, when its seventh edition sold 621,000 copies its first week. Now wouldn't comment on whether it is currently profitable.

    "How is it that a fast-food cheeseburger is still around when you can get a fancy gourmet cheeseburger?" says Charlie Harding, co-host of "Switched on Pop," a podcast about the making and meaning of popular music. "People still want a Big Mac. ... There's nothing wrong with that.

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