There hasn’t been a runaway hit because the labels are releasing crap!

Record sales really are stuck in a downward groove
In record sales, last year’s down is starting to look up. Mid-year totals point to a far sharper decline than the 3% dip in 2001, the first no-growth year since Nielsen SoundScan began tabulating sales in 1991.
As of June 23, retailers had sold 299.2 million albums, compared with 331.4 million during the same period in 2001, a 9.7% drop. The total for albums and singles: 305.7 million, a 12% drop. The picture darkens against figures from 2000. This year’s haul trails by 18% against the 372.6 million copies tallied by June 25, 2000.
“What we saw at the end of 2001 isn’t as alarming as what we’re seeing now,” says Geoff Mayfield, Billboard ‘s director of charts. “Last year’s decline had more to do with the cassette dying out than anything else. Except for Easter, there hasn’t been a week where business was up over the same week in 2001, and that’s far more disturbing than the decline of one configuration.”
Despite predictable sales spikes, starting with this week’s expected opening figure of 500,000-plus for rapper Nelly’s Nellyville, a recovery by year’s end, even to a break-even point with 2001, “is a long shot,” Mayfield says. “The easiest thing to blame is CD burning, but we may be fighting more than one demon.”
Mayfield compares the current nose-dive to the early ’80s, when a dreary economy, rapid extinction of the eight-track and a dearth of fresh sounds contributed to a pop music crisis.
Evidence that the lack of compelling music is a culprit today can be found in the proliferation of oldies on non-oldies radio stations. “I’m getting the sense that programmers think the old stuff is better than the new stuff,” says Airplay Monitor editor Sean Ross. “During the top-40 doldrums of ’92, you had records by Nir vana, Snoop Dogg and others selling without airplay. There was a feeling that something was going on. There’s not that feeling this year.”
More indications of a slump:
* Fewer runaway hits. Eminem’s The Eminem Show is the 2002 leader with 3.3 million copies, trailed by Alan Jackson’s Drive with 2.2 million and three discs at 2 million each: the ninth volume of Now That’s What I Call Music!, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Celine Dion’s A New Day Has Come. Only 20 albums this year have registered sales of 1 million or more, compared with 34 at this time last year.
* Softer sales at the top. Billboard’s top 10, typically stacked with brand names that serve as retail magnets, shows a weakening punch. In early May, when Big Tymer’s Hood Rich entered the chart at No. 1, the top 10 accounted for sales of 1 million albums. The comparable week in 2001 yielded a top-10 tally of 1.8 million.
The industry’s growing conservatism and reluctance to gamble on innovative artists or pour dollars into promotion make recovery unlikely anytime soon.
“There’s definitely been a scaling back and a tendency among labels to believe they can save their way to prosperity, which isn’t likely to happen,” Ross says.