Update: We were right! Enya did release an album in 2015. On 20 November Dark Sky Island was released. See my album review here.
My! My! Time Flies! sings Enya on And Winter Came. It is now over 6 years since the release of her latest album. Some artists can afford to wait for years to release new material, and Enya is undoubtedly one of them. But it is a new day in the music business. Today it’s all about streaming, and the CD format is soon nothing but a memory. In order to stay relevant – and revitalize her current catalogue on streaming formats – Enya will need to release a new album sometimes soon.
With over 75 million albums sold Enya is one of the most successful artist in music history – and world’s no. 1 New Age music artist. But the music economy has changed (or collapsed, depending on who you ask) since the release of her latest album, and today the business is mostly about the number of streams and playbacks on Spotify, YouTube and Pandora. No major artist will enjoy being a CD-only artist.
Book of Days
We don’t have exact numbers for Enya on streaming formats, but we can tell that she is doing “just about OK”. And “just about OK” is not good enough for an artist of this format.
From Youtube (click for bigger picture):
Of course millions of playbacks do not sound bad at all. But in order to have success today you’ll need tracks with several hundred million playbacks alone. A mega selling artist like Enya will need big numbers on all platforms. Hopefully Enya’s numbers on Pandora Radio are better, although these stats are not available to us. If you know the number of streams for other services, please write a comment below.
It must be said that there’s one digital format where Enya has had success – and that’s paid downloads via iTunes. After the release of And Winter Came she was on top of many national iTunes lists for years. But even Apple is moving away from the paid downloads market and into the streaming economy. Enya will have to do the same – sometimes soon.
Some artists can afford to wait for years to release new material, and Enya is undoubtedly one of them.
Therefore it was discouraging to hear that there will be no re-releases of Enya’s music in the near future. It is hard to understand why we will not get streaming only versions of remastered or previously unreleased material. It is not much to ask for, and it is cheap and easy to make for the label.
Enya is still making lots of money, as seen in this article. But the general question is; is Enya going to remain an artist for the CD buying, 40+ years old demography, or is she too going to attract a younger audience who cannot remember ever having played a CD? There’s is of course nothing wrong with her current audience, and the CD format will live for decades more. But something must be done to give her more streams.
Enya still has popular appeal. Here we can mention the Lord of the Rings soundtrack – and The Jean Claude Van Damme Volvo commercial. But still; Enya needs a successful new album in 2015. A tour, or at least a few talk show performances, would also be great.
Waiting for the new album is, to quote Enya on Amarantine, like a Long long journey through the darkness…