Catalog product

Catalog Music: when does music become “old”?

(Hypebot) – When discussing current and less current songs, it’s important that everyone is on the same page. Here’s what industry pros consider “old” music.

by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0

Record companies have always differentiated the music they sell between what is called Frontline and Catalog. Frontline are recent versions and Catalog is over 18 months old. While the catalog naming might have worked in the days of physical products, today the 18-month time frame seems so out of step with the music trend.

The reason for the delay

According to a Chartmetric special report, the 18-month mark seems completely arbitrary to music fans, but it was important to artists and labels. ancient writing Spotify chief economist will page, “In 1991, the industry was going through a format change; consumers were replacing their vinyl collections with CDs. As a result, buying second time albums became the norm – none more so than Meat Loaf’s classic Bat Out of Hell (1977). This second wave of demand helped this 14-year-old album top the charts – again! Yet the purpose of the charts is to promote new releases, not old ones, so in response the “catalog rule” [in many countries] was born – decreeing that only “new” or “frontline” albums were eligible, while anything released more than 18 months ago was not eligible. The rule succeeded in removing Meat Loaf from the top of the charts – and all because the music industry was struggling to cope with a format change.

So the 18 month rule is simply trying to keep older music from dominating the charts while labels try to push the newest and greatest!

Trending today (or not)

But here we are today where decades-old songs like by Kate Bush “Run up that hill” and Fleetwood Mac “Dreams” comes back from the dead to top the charts. Therefore, the term “catalogue” seems questionable.

For some reason, “old” music is new to listeners who have never been exposed to the song, and it often happens. Another is that there just haven’t been as many blockbuster hits in the last two years. As a result, 2020 hits like Dua Lipa album nostalgia for the future, and Bad Bunny’s YHLQMDLGwhich should technically be defined as catalog, are still on the cards.

Chartmetric suggests that the catalog window limit be increased from 18 months to 3-5 years. This seems much more appropriate considering the status of almost all music popularity charts right now and the trend of music. Whatever the reasons, what is old becomes new again, and anything should be embraced instead of labeled.

Bobby Owsinski is a producer/engineer, author and coach. He is the author of 24 books on recording, music, the music industry and social media.

Read more:
Under Creative Commons license: Non-Commercial Share Alike Attribution