Can You Believe Everything Soundscan Says?

For decades music industry talking heads have done everything in their power to let the world know this industry is on its death bed. When television took over radio…music was dying. When 8 track tapes were all the rage…music was dying. When CDs emerged victorious over cassettes and LPs…music was dying.

How many times can Goliath fake his own death and come out victorious? Apparently you can survive your own demise quite nicely when you are making up the rules. Seems to me the music biz itself created LPs, 8 track tapes, cassettes, and the CD format. This industry has contributed significantly to the technology to make downloads, um, illegal.

A few years after CDs became the format de jour, Soundscan came on the scene to legitimize retail sales for the record charts. This New York Times article explains the history and the need for the Soundscan chart; and how the industry manipulates the process of using it as a fair practice tool:

Fast forward into the 21st century when record labels and recording industry organizations are suing their own customers and the decline of recorded music is on the tip of every wagging tongue. Soundscan reports that CD sales continue to plummet year after year. But is that really true?

It is if you happen to be a major label.

With every touring artist on the planet owning their own label, one has to ask: Do indies report their sales to Soundscan? If not, aren’t millions of CD sales going unreported to the very charts that show the pulse and overall health of the industry? 

What if indie sales were reported? Would that make a difference collectively in the overall performance of the industry? Most certainly it would make a significant difference showing the major labels what powerful numbers the indies hold jointly. But where can the indies report without having to pay the annual Soundscan fee?

The answer is there isn’t a place for indies to report their sales without a hefty annual fee. But what if there was such a place? Would indies use it to legitimize their sales numbers?

Please leave a comment and let me know if you would use such a service. Scout is prepared to become the first indie outlet for reported CD/download sales.


About scout66

2017 marks the 33rd year of Janet Hansen’s career as a music marketing specialist. With three Grammy award-winning campaigns to her credit, Hansen has also contributed to the legacy of two of history’s most popular songs. “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams is the most-broadcast instrumental tune in history; and “Louie, Louie” by The Fabulous Wailers is the most-recorded rock song in history. In 2009 Hansen launched the unique music platform Scout66 to encourage reviews of live shows from the ticket-buying public. You may contact Janet at for information on consulting, campaigns, and tour support. Please follow us on Twitter at
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6 Responses to Can You Believe Everything Soundscan Says?

  1. Renagade says:

    Hmmm. Good question. Not the Soundscan truth or fiction, but the would you use a service to report sales?
    Yes it would serve to show the power of Indies, but is it really neccessary?
    One thing for sure, I am NOT an artist, but if I was and was going to use a service like that, Scout66 would be the place I would trust to get it right.


  2. I report to Soundscan through the manufacturer I used for my CDs. Unfortunately half of my sales–the ones NOT through retail outlets or gigs–can’t be counted. Sales at gigs count if they sre verifief by the club owner.


  3. I wanted to report gig CD sales to Soundscan, but found the process difficult, if not impossible, to do. I would have liked the artists I was working with to get publicity, if nothing else, for doing significant on-site CD sales.


    • scout66com says:

      Agree with you that a significant number of CD sales are from the stage. I’m thinking there is an annual fee to be able to report to Soundscan that is out of the range most indies would consider.


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