Talk Money: November 20, 2015

Talk Money: November 20, 2015

To say the expectations are huge for this week's release of Adele's album 25 would be an understatement.

Her first album, 19, sold 7 million copies. That was dwarfed by the follow-up, 21, which sold 30 million units.

Thirty million is a staggering number at a time when the music business appears to be imploding.

There are hopes that her new album 25 will reverse what has been a 5 percent fall in US album sales this year.

Billboard reports that 25 has shipped 3.6 million physical copies to US stores. It's expected that around 1.5 million of those will be sold in the first week. Digital sales could take the total first week sales to 2.5 million.

That would be the largest number since 'N Sync's No Strings Attached sold just over 2.4 million copies in its first week 15 years ago.

The first single 'Hello'sold more than 1.1 million copies in its first week in the US when it was released last month. The video has been viewed more than 416,200,000 times.

Adele's 25 will be released in a week that has already seen the new albums from Justin Bieber and One Direction collectively sell close to 1 million copies in the United States.

The real question is, how strong will the sales be in subsequent week - particularly after Christmas?

The 21 album was what the industry calls a slow-burner. It had massive staying power. Its sales were not typical of the modern era and were more like what the industry enjoyed in the peak years of the 1970s to late 1990s.

It would be perhaps expecting too much of Adele, or anyone else, to be able to match 21's success in 2015. But the industry will be hoping she can.

Another question that is being asked about 25 is whether it will be available on streaming sites.

The New York Times says the answer is no.

It reports that Adele was "personally involved" in the decision, a year after Taylor Swift withdrew her music from Spotify over complaints about the royalties paid to artists.

I wonder if Adele and her management team will rethink the decision, but only after they give 25 a few weeks to sell as many physical and digital copies as possible.

November is proving a great month for the music industry.

One Direction opted to release their new album Made In The A.M. on the same day that Justin Bieber had chosen for his new album Purpose.

First-week sales for both acts have soared as their respective fan bases competed to get their favourite to number one.

It looks like Bieber will claim the US number one spot, while One Direction will triumph in the UK.

Bieber's Purpose was expected to see around 300,000 copies in the US in its first week, but helped by positive reviews its sales have been closer to 450,000.  Add the digital sales, and it looks like the total units sold will be around 525,000.

One Direction was also expected to sell around 300,000 copies, but physical sales are also around 425,000. Its additional digital sales should take its first week total to 475,000 in the US.

So it looks like digital sales will give Bieber the edge in the US.

Over in the UK, Made In The A.M. looks to have a narrow lead. Midway through the week it was ahead by 14,000 copies.

New Zealand dollar has leapt this morning. It has risen 1.44 percent to US 65.65 cents by 8:30am.

That was after the US Federal Reserve signalled it was still on track to hike rates next month. The prospect of higher interest rates would have been expected to lift the US dollar. But the currency had already had a strong run and it looks like some traders took the opportunity to cash in and take their profits.

Once the New Zealand dollar started rising it really gained some momentum.

It was trading at 65.31 by 5pm yesterday and gained almost half a cent more overnight before easing very slightly.

The kiwi also rose one 1 percent against the pound, and was trading at 42.91 pence by 8:30am.

The NZ dollar had more modest gains against the Australian currency, rising to 91.24 cents.

It was trading at 80.59 Japanese yen and 61.14 Euro cents. 


The fall in the US dollar saw the gold price gain ground.

Gold was trading at US$1,080, up 1.10 percent, or $11.

It is a different story for people buying in New Zealand dollars however.  The gold price is $1646 New Zealand dollars per ounce. That is down $12, or 0.77 percent overnight.

Over the past year New Zealand gold investors have done quite well.

The gold price is up ten percent over the past twelve months in New Zealand dollars.

Shares in mobile payments company Square have soared 50 percent after debuting on the US share market.

The company was co-founded and is led by Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey.

The shares reached $14.78 in early trading, which would value Square at $4.77 billion.

But this is well below the $6 billion the company was valued at during its last private valuation.

That's why Square's market debut is attracting so much attention. There is growing concern on Wall Street that too many tech start-ups have valuations that are far higher than their earnings would warrant.

Dorsey will be busy. Twitter soared after it debuted on the market, only to fall back to its initial listing price.

Twitter has over 300 million users, but there are questions over whether the company's growth has stalled.

Twitter illustrates a big problem for many companies in Silicon Valley - how do you monetise a great product?

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