Album Sales Hit Historic Low, Falling Below Four Million Total Units Sold

Wiz Khalifa Visits Miami Radio Station

Wiz Khalifa – Photo: Larry Marano/Getty Images

 

Additionally, the digital side of the industry is struggling as streaming sites chip away at sales, Rolling Stone reported

 

The record industry has just had its worst week in decades. For the first time since Nielsen SoundScan began keeping track in 1991, album sales failed to reach the four-million-sold mark this week, totaling just 3.97 million. The week’s top seller, Wiz Khalifa’s Blacc Hollywood contributed just over 90,000, but after that, the Top 10 featured three other debuting albums that averaged only 31,000 each, Billboard reports. It’s worth noting, though, that this week’s numbers do not include the post-VMA sales bump for many artists. Those will be tallied on next week’s charts.Falling below the four million mark was inevitable, as sales totaling more than five million records sold have been a rarity so far in 2014. In fact, one of this summer’s biggest sellers was a soundtrack featuring previously available Seventies hits (Guardians of the Galaxy) that sold at the same pace as a Now! compilation. If not for that soundtrack’s surprise success, album sales may have dipped below four million weeks ago. By comparison, during this same week in 2014, album sales totaled 4.88 million.
 
The music industry has struggled in recent years as consumers have shifted from physical CDs to MP3s, but even the digital side has been hit hard in 2014: Digital album sales are down 11.7 percent for the year, and à la carte downloads are down another 12.8 percent according to Billboard. Illegal downloading has no doubt eroded much of those digital sales, but it’s the emergence of legal streaming sites like Spotify and Pandora that has also chipped away at overall sales. Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” had 544,000 digital sales this week partly because the track isn’t available on Spotify, forcing fans to download the song (or watch it on YouTube, where it has already accrued 46 million views).
 
While the music industry has struggled to capture even five million units sold per week in 2014, things look slightly more optimistic in the months to come thanks to new releases from bona fide album movers like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett, Lil Wayne, Foo Fighters and Pink Floyd. Those albums, and Adele’s eventual LP, will help resuscitate things. However, if current trends continue, 2015 promises to be an even gloomier year sales wise for the music companies.
 
Maybe yes, maybe not.

NATO/US: Don’t F-UP with Russia, Learn from a ‘United Continent’ with European volunteers fighting Kiev troops in Eastern Ukraine

French fighter Guillaume. Screenshot from RT video

French fighter Guillaume. Screenshot from RT video

European volunteers are streaming into Ukraine to join the fighting on both sides. While Kiev’s forces are beefed up with mercenaries from private military companies, Europeans have also come to defend the rebel Donbass region of their own free will.

One of the latest reinforcements of anti-Kiev troops in Eastern Ukraine are four French ex-serviceman who have come to fight this war, thousands of kilometers from home.

“It’s our war. It’s everybody’s war, it’s every European’s war,” Guillaume, a French fighter in Ukraine defending the Donbass region, told RT’s Paula Slier.

Another volunteer, 25-year-old Nikola, used to be a professional soldier with the elite French mountain troops for five years. Now he’s putting his skills to good use in Ukraine. Alongside a contingent of other foreign volunteers, he’s training anti-Kiev forces in urban guerilla warfare.

“These are people’s militias, these are not mercenaries or professional soldiers, so they need instruction,” Nikola told RT.

“They really have the motivation, whereas the Kiev army, which is a kind of puppet of NATO, they don’t have any motivation whatsoever,” Nikola said. “We have seen them before. They are very much unmotivated and they do not really know why they are fighting, and against whom they are fighting, so that is our main strength.”

French fighter Nikola

French fighter Nikola. Screenshot from RT video

The French volunteer explained that the presence of European volunteers among Ukraine’s rebels carrying out what they call “a military operation for protecting civilians” in the country’s east is symbolic.

“For many of these people from the west, it’s their first time to come and defend what is considered by western governments a bad cause, or the bad guys’ cause. So it’s very important to show that people from the west are distinct from their governments and they are ready to come and fight and risk their lives to defend another world,” Nikola said.

And more and more overseas fighters are signing up and joining the anti-Kiev troops.

RT’s Paula Slier found out that volunteers are coming to the Donetsk frontline not just from France, but also from Spain, Poland, Israel and the United Kingdom.

Aleksey Mozgovoy, the commander of ‘Prizrak’ (Ghost) brigade from the Lugansk Region said in an interview to the MK.ru news outlet that in his 1,000-strong battalion there are fighters from Bulgaria, Slovakia and Germany.

One of the largest international forces fighting against Kiev’s troops is a unit of volunteers from Serbia, according to the interview. The ‘Jovan Shevich’ squadron allegedly consists of 250 fighters and is actively operating in the Lugansk Region.

Milutin Malisic, a member of a Serbian Chetnik paramilitary group. (Reuters / Thomas Peter)

Milutin Malisic, a member of a Serbian Chetnik paramilitary group. (Reuters / Thomas Peter)

Earlier this week, the Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Aleksandr Zakharchenko, revealed in an interview to Russian media that up to 4,000 Russian citizens, many of them ex-servicemen, have joined anti-government fighters during Kiev’s crackdown in Ukraine’s east.

“Without them, it would hard for us to go on with our fighting,” Zakharchenko said, stressing that at the moment many of Russian citizens have already returned back home.

The latest developments in the warfare in Eastern Ukraine, where up to 7,000 Ukrainian troops and National Guards units have been entrapped in three separate encirclements, give hope to the rebel forces.

“We believe that the Ukrainian army will not be able to last until winter or even fall, because each day that goes by they lose money, they lose motivation, they lose manpower, they lose ammo. So each day that goes by, they grow weaker, while we grow stronger,” French fighter Guillaume told RT.

Europe now finds itself between a rock and a hard place: What to do as more of its young men sign up to fight against its ally?

“Legally, we do not see what the French government can do to us because first of all, we are not paid, so we’re not mercenaries, we’re not terrorists, we’re not jihadists, and of course it’s a mission of information, it’s a political mission, it’s a mission of soft power,” Victor Lenfa, Commander of the French team in Ukraine, told RT.

Commander of the French team in Ukraine Victor Lenfa. Screenshot from RT video

Commander of the French team in Ukraine Victor Lenfa. Screenshot from RT video

And this mission is growing stronger as a brigade of Western volunteers is now being put together under the name “United Continent.”

Foreign mercenaries in Kiev’s service

After the UN Security Council on Thursday blocked Russia’s statement calling for a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine under a completely frivolous pretext, Russia’s envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin had a heated debate with colleagues from the US and Ukraine, who again accused Russia of a full-scale invasion as a large number of Russian volunteers are fighting in Ukraine.

Vitaly Churkin fired back, saying that nobody ever tried to hide the presence of Russian volunteers, urging Washington to acknowledge the presence of US advisers in Kiev and why mercenaries from private military companies are waging war in Ukraine.

“Maybe our American colleagues can tell us what tens of American advisers are busy with in the headquarters of National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine [in Kiev]? Let them tell us how many American mercenaries from the so-called “security provider” companies are fighting [in Ukraine], thousands of kilometers from their home ground?” demanded Churkin, not forgetting to mention first-rate US-made armaments observed in Ukrainian units.

Exactly one month ago, Russia’s Rossyiskaya Gazeta daily quoted Igor Strelkov, the former Defense Minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, who claimed that as of the end of July, self-defense militia had eliminated up to 330 mercenaries representing a number of foreign private military companies.

Strelkov specified the casualties from each of them, saying that Polish private military company ASBS (Analizy Systemowe Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz) Othago lost 139 mercenaries, American Greystone Ltd, a subsidiary of Vehicle Services Company LLC belonging to Blackwater/XE/Academi, lost 40 fighters, while Academi itself lost 125 personnel.

 

Американские наёмники уже в Донецке!! [American mercenaries already in Donetsk !!

 

 

 Удачи в борцами за свободу!

 

‘Common sense prevailed’: Ukraine releases Russian paratroopers

 

Breaking news: Ukraine releases Russian paratroopers

RT
Published time: August 30, 2014 20:38

A group of Russian servicemen detained in Ukraine

A group of Russian servicemen detained in Ukraine

All Russian paratroopers who were detained earlier in the week in eastern Ukraine have been handed over to the Russian side, deputy commander of the Airborne Forces, Major-General Aleksey Ragozin has confirmed.

“The negotiations were very difficult. However, common sense prevailed, and all ended well,” Ragozin said on Saturday night, cited by RIA.

“The most important thing – all the guys are now back with us, in Russia. I want to emphasize that we never abandon our own,” he added.

Kiev’s army announced August 26 that it had captured the Russian paratroopers after their incursion into Ukraine. The military officials claimed the 10 detained servicemen had crossed the border to fight alongside anti-government forces.

According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the soldiers had been on a routine patrol, which accidentally strayed into foreign territory without any hostile intent.

Russian soldiers captured in Ukraine say they ‘were lost’ in Kiev-released video

 

WATCH VIDEO HERE

 

President Vladimir Putin reiterated that Friday. “In fact, this is the case, I’m talking seriously. I believe that they had just gotten lost because there are no boundary markers there,” the president said.

Putin also said that he had negotiated the release of the paratroopers with his Ukrainian counterpart during their meeting in Minsk, Belarus, earlier this week.

I believe this is just a technical issue. Petro Poroshenko and I talked about this [in Minsk] and he affirmed that the Russian military servicemen would be handed back over to Russia, just as we continue to return soldiers [to Ukraine] from the Ukrainian Army,” Putin said.

Moscow has reiterated there have been numerous cases of incursions into Russian territory by Ukrainian soldiers. One incident involved an armored personnel carrier, and the soldiers were armed.

At the beginning of August, over 400 Ukrainian troops were allowed to cross into Russia after requesting sanctuary.

At the beginning of August, over 400 Ukrainian troops were allowed to cross into Russia after requesting sanctuary.

 

Over 400 Ukrainian soldiers flee to Russia, ask for refuge

 

 

 

Russia has always been quick in handing back Ukrainian soldiers who’ve crossed into its territory, while giving sanctuary to those servicemen who wanted to stay.