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Music Sales Sinking

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Describe Your Habits

Read and answer the questions. Then share your answers with another student.

1. Who is your favorite musician? Why?
2. Was this person also your favorite musician one year ago? If not, why not?
3. How many hours of music do you listen to in one week?
4. Where and when do you listen to music?
5. Do you usually buy the music you enjoy? Why or why not?
6. What kinds of music do you think were most popular with young people in America in 2002? Why?
7. Who do you think were some of the most successful musicians of 2002? Why do you think they were successful?

Reading Activities

A: Complete the Table

Part One of the article has a number of facts about music sales in the USA in 2002. Read it and fill in the gaps in the table as quickly as you can.

Number of copies of "The Eminem Show" sold:
Name of biggest commercial hit of 2002:
Ranking of soundtrack to movie "8 Mile":
Name of album at top of SoundScan weekly sales chart, Dec. 29 2002:
Ranking of movie "8 Mile"in November 2002:
Money earned by "8 Mile" in 2002:
Part One
Rap, Country Dominate Year of Slumping Music Sales
By Steve Gorman

LOS ANGELES Fri Jan 3 (Reuters) - Slumping music sales left the recording industry with a whopping New Year's hangover, but rap star Eminem has plenty to celebrate.

In a year that saw CD sales overall plunge by nearly 9 percent, the Detroit-based rapper-turned-actor sold 7.6 million copies of his latest album, "The Eminem Show," making it the biggest commercial hit of 2002, according to year-end retail figures issued Thursday by Nielsen SoundScan.

At the same time, the soundtrack to Eminem's movie debut, "8 Mile," ranked No. 5 for the year with nearly 3.5 million units sold.

Featuring songs from Eminem and other recording artists, "8 Mile" also returned Thursday to the top of SoundScan's latest weekly sales chart (ended Dec. 29), dislodging country pop diva Shania Twain from the No. 1 spot for the first time since the debut of her new album "Up!" in late November.

The movie "8 Mile," loosely based on Eminem's life, opened at No. 1 at the U.S. box office in November to generally warm reviews and went on to gross more than $114 million, making the Grammy-winning rapper one of the few recording stars in recent years to successfully cross over to the big screen.
(Continued/...)

Article © 2003 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2003 www.english-to-go.com


B: Summarizing the Main Idea

Fill the gaps in this sentence summarizing the main idea of Part One of the article.

___________ ___________ slumped in 2002 in the United States but rap star ___________ was very __________.


C: Jigsaw Reading

Work in pairs. Half of the class is Group A, the other half is Group B. Your teacher will give you Part Two of the article. Your part of the article will have some gaps.

1. Look at the gaps in your article and think of what questions you should ask to find the missing pieces of information.

2. Work with someone from the other group and ask and answer questions to get the missing pieces of information.


D: Check Your Understanding

Check your understanding of Part Two of the article by choosing the best answer for these multiple choice questions.

1. The most popular kinds of music in 2002 were...

a. hip-hop.
b. country.
c. both of these.

2. In 2002 country music sales rose by...

a. 12%.
b. 13%.
c. 14%.

3. In 2002 industrywide music sales...

a. rose.
b. dropped.
c. remained steady.

4. Music companies say this trend occurred because of...

a. the high numbers of people choosing to buy their music online.
b. the poor quality of music produced in 2002.
c. neither of these answers.

5. Eminem...

a. sold more than 5 million copies of an album in 2002.
b. was one of 4 artists to sell more than 5 million copies in November.
c. sold just under 5 million copies of an album in 2002.

E: Language

Match the following verbs with a suitable preposition. When you are finished, find them in Parts 1 and 2 of the text. (Note: They may be in their past tense form in the text.) Write sentences using the words. Do not copy the sentences from the text but try to use your own words.

Verbs
Prepositions

account
cross over
dislodge
encroach
fall
go
open
return

at
for
from
to
into
to
into
on

Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: Thinking Carefully

Work in pairs. Use information from the article and your own ideas to answer the questions. Take it in turns to answer the questions. (For example, you answer question 1a., your partner answers question 1b., etc.)

1. If you were a music industry executive in the United States,...
a. ...would you have felt like celebrating at the end of 2002? Why or why not?
b. ...where would you expect to see growth in sales in 2003?
c. ...what problems facing the music industry would you be worried about? Why?

2. Eminem was successful in more than one field in 2002? What else did he get involved in? Is this common? Can you think of some other singers who have 'crossed over'?


B: Extra Reading and Discussion

You are going to read part of an interview with a hip-hop musician. Before you read it, answer these questions in pairs.

1. How difficult do you think it is for a young person to make a lot of money as a musician?
2. If your son or daughter told you they wanted to make pop music their career, what would you say to them?

Now read the interview and answer the questions that follow.

In 2002 English-To-Go interviewed American hip-hop musician, Michael Franti. Read this excerpt from the interview and then answer the questions that follow the interview transcript. Use information from the interview and your own ideas.

English-To-Go: If a 14-year-old came up to you now and said, "You're great. Music's great. I've just decided to leave school and be a professional musician. What advice do you give them?"

Michael Franti: Well, the first thing is - whatever you do in your life, whether it's becoming a musician or any other thing - is you have to understand what your motives and intentions are behind what you're doing. If the motive is to get rich quick, and to retire at a young age, you'd probably be more successful in another field, because the odds of you doing that in music are so slim.

Only .2% of the records that are released every year sell more than 250,000 units, and if you're on a major label, just to break even with the amount of money they loaned you to do all your production and videos and everything, you have to sell over a million units just to break even.

But there's just a very small percentage of artists who are really making millions of dollars, and out of those millions of dollars for pop-star style musicians, most of that is going to producers, managers, lawyers and not into the pockets of the artists. So the first thing is understand why it is that you're doing it. If you're doing it to make money or if you're doing it because you have a desire to say something from your heart. And then the thing is to follow your heart.

Questions:
1. Summarize what Franti says about a young person's chances of becoming a successful musician. Use your own words.
2. How did Franti's advice for a young person compare with your answer (in Question 2 above)?
3. According to Franti, what should make a young person want to become a musician? Do you agree?
4. What pressures and difficulties would a young person breaking into the music industry face? What pressures would they face once they were successful?
5. Did you ever dream of being a successful musician? Why or why not?


C: Writing

Imagine that you are a music industry executive and you have been asked to give a report to other people in your company about trends in the music industry in 2002. You are giving the report in December 2002. Use the article to write your report. Your teacher will give you a sample answer when you have finished.

Useful Language: "Music sales have ... slumped / continued to drop / increased / plunged


TEACHERS' NOTES AND ANSWER KEY
Please Note: This lesson also has listening exercises for your students to do online at http://www.instantworkbook.com/. You can get a username and password for your students by clicking on the blue icon next to this lesson description at http://www.english-to-go.com/.

Reading Activities

A: Complete the Table - Answers

Number of copies of "The Eminem Show" sold: 7.6 million
Name of biggest commercial hit of 2002: "The Eminem Show"
Ranking of soundtrack of movie "8 Mile": No. 5
Name of album at top of SoundScan weekly sales chart, (Dec. 29 2002): "8 Mile"
Ranking of movie "8 Mile" in November 2002: No. 1
Money earned by "8 Mile" in 2002: more than $114 million

B: Summarizing the Main Idea - Sample Answer

Music sales slumped in 2002 in the United States but rap star Eminem was very successful.

C: Jigsaw Reading - Texts to be Copied and Given to Students


Article for Group A

Part Two

(.../Continued) Eminem's double triumph came in a year of music dominated by 1. _________ and country music acts, which according to a recent tally by the New York Times jointly accounted for 2._________ of the year's No. 1 rankings on the pop album charts.

Indeed, most of the top 10 albums of 2002 fell into one of those two classes as rap and country encroached further into the pop mainstream. But country music was the only genre to post an increase in sales last year, rising 3._________ percent over 2001 levels, according to SoundScan.

Industrywide, total album sales fell 8.7 percent from 2001 to nearly 650 million units, the second year-to-year decline in a row. A slump of nearly 3 percent the previous year marked the first sales drop in at least a decade. The major labels have blamed the 4._________ and 5._________ for weak sales.

Eminem was the only artist in 2002 to surpass the 5 million mark. Fellow rap artist 6._________ "Nellyville" release was No. 2 for the year, with sales of 4.9 million copies, followed by the debut album of Canadian teen pop ingenue Avril Lavigne, "Let Go," at No. 3 with sales of 4.1 million units. Country pop trio the Dixie Chicks finished the year in 7._________ place, selling nearly 3.7 million copies of their latest album, "Home."

Rounding out the top 10 were "Missundaztood" from pop-rocker Pink at No. 6, followed by hip-hop songstress Ashanti's self-titled album, country star Alan Jackson's "Drive," Shania Twain's 8."_________" and the bluegrass-heavy soundtrack to the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Article © 2003 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2003 www.english-to-go.com


Article for Group B

Part Two

(.../Continued) Eminem's double triumph came in a year of music dominated by hip-hop and 1._________ music acts, which according to a recent tally by the New York Times jointly accounted for three-fifths of the year's No. 1 rankings on the 2._________ charts.

Indeed, most of the top 10 albums of 2002 fell into one of those two classes as rap and country encroached further into the pop mainstream. But country music was the only genre to post an increase in sales last year, rising 12 percent over 2001 levels, according to SoundScan.

Industrywide, total album sales fell 3._________ percent from 2001 to nearly 650 million units, the second year-to-year decline in a row. A slump of nearly 3 percent the previous year marked the first sales drop in at least a decade. The major labels have blamed the sluggish economy and online music piracy for weak sales.

Eminem was the only artist in 2002 to surpass the 4._________ million mark. Fellow rap artist Nelly's "Nellyville" release was No. 2 for the year, with sales of 4.9 million copies, followed by the debut album of Canadian teen pop ingenue 5._________, "Let Go," at No. 3 with sales of 4.1 million units. Country pop trio 6._________ finished the year in fourth place, selling nearly 3.7 million copies of their latest album, "Home."

Rounding out the top 10 were 7."_________" from pop-rocker Pink at No. 6, followed by hip-hop songstress Ashanti's self-titled album, country star 8._________"Drive," Shania Twain's "Up!" and the bluegrass-heavy soundtrack to the film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"

Article © 2003 Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2003 www.english-to-go.com


D: Check Your Understanding - Answers

1. c, 2. a, 3. b, 4. c, 5. a.

E: Language - Answers

account for; cross over to; dislodge from; encroach into; fall into; go on; open at; return to.

E: Language - Sample Sentences

1. Hip-hop and country music accounted for 60 percent of music sales in 2002.
2. It is difficult for many singers to cross over to acting.
3. Eminem's "8 Mile" soundtrack dislodged Shania Twain's "Up" album from the No. 1 spot.
4. Hip-hop and country music have slowly encroached into the popular music mainstream.
5. Many of the best-selling albums of 2002 fell into either the rap or country music categories.
6. "8 Mile" will probably go on to gross more money in 2003 as it is shown at cinemas around the world.
7. The film makers were elated to see their multi-million dollar movie open at No. 1 in the USA.
8. Eminem returned to the No. 1 spot in the sales charts with the "8 Mile" soundtrack.

Post-Reading Activities

A: Thinking Carefully - Suggested Answers

1. a. No. Because of the slump in music sales in 2001 and 2002. You might, however, be celebrating if you were involved in sales of country music or represented Eminem.
b. In country music and hip-hop. (Students may offer other answers too.)
c. The sluggish economy and online music piracy. Unless the economy improves people may continue to spend less on music. Many people are not buying their music now but are instead downloading music illegally from the Internet without paying royalties to artists. This is an increasing problem and the music industry seems to be able to do little to stop it. (Students may think of other problems too.)

2. He was successful in music sales and the movie based on his life has also been a success. Most artists are not as successful when they try to make it 'on the big screen'.

B: Extra Reading and Discussion - Notes

Answers for the questions will vary.

C: Writing - Notes

Once students have finished, you can give them the sample answer below.

You could also turn the sample answer into a listening cloze or gap fill if you wish.

C: Writing - Sample Answer

This has not been a year of expansion for the American music industry. Instead music sales have slumped. The only area to show strong growth has been in country music.

Overall, total CD sales have continued to drop. For ten years we enjoyed increased sales but this is the second year in a row in which we have seen sales fall. Sales were down by 3% in 2001 and have fallen a further 8.7% this year. However, sales in country music have increased by 12%.

Hip-hop and country music have dominated the top 10 rankings on the pop charts this year and indicate that these two types of music are becoming increasingly popular with music lovers. Eminem has been extremely successful this year selling 7.6 million copies of his latest album.

Problems that we have had to contend with include on-line music piracy and a weak economy. If, as expected, these problems continue next year, our company will have to work extra hard to encourage music lovers to spend money on music.

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