This year has left us with fewer titans in the music industry — Bowie, Prince and Cohen among others — but there's one more who's passed on that made news this year. He's sold a lot of music in 2016, way past his modern competition, and by that I meant those from the 21st century.
Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition was released in late October and since then it has sold a whopping 1.25 million CDs. This wasn't as we're nearing the end of the year, either – this was in the first five weeks of its release.
Mozart only hit those sales because of a quirk from the industry. While Mozart 225: The New Complete Edition is a single package, it's made of 200 discs. And, according to the music industry, each CD counts as an individual sale. So there only needed to be around 6,000 copies sold in order to reach sales of 1.25 million.
The CD loophole has helped other artists in the past. Hip-hop duo Outkast reached diamond record status when their Speakerboxx/The Below album also hit a huge number of sales because the double-album counted as two CDs.
This is a good example of how people are listening to music has changed. The massive number of CDs Mozart 225 sold is nothing to sneeze it, but it doesn't compare to the number of streams Drake hit. On Spotify, he was number one with 4.7 billion streams.
Mozart isn't taking in the cash anymore, of course, and his work is in the public domain, so you have to wonder where all that money is going. Well, someone has to play and conduct the orchestra for those songs. The players get a part of the profit. Most of it does go to the recording company, but there are really big problems because of streaming and touring that are making it hard for anyone to make money at all.
While Mozart is getting plenty of recognition this year on a technicality, it's still an interesting distinction to have. You can't help but be impressed that a master that's in a common grave in Vienna can still move a lot of units.