As you may know, we do a little year-in-review blog each year — going over some little fun facts, tidbits, statistics. And this year has been such a crazy one that we’re especially excited to go over it, looking back at what releases we’ve celebrated, what happened over at the studio, and of course, your listening habits. So let’s get cracking. The releases This year, we’ve released 13 new titles, a little under our average. But that’s mainly due to the fact that we were so busy recording, that next year is going to be an insane one. We have — so far — 24 releases scheduled, one each two weeks. We were also super busy releasing some earlier titles in immersive, remastering their stereo and surround counterparts in the process. 28 titles were remastered and re-released this way, last year alone. The people Now, to do all that recording, mastering and releasing, we’ve had to extend our little family of staff members, so Thijs Muijs (assistant mastering engineer) and Kristia Michael (label manager) have joined our team to help out managing all this. Kristia is writing an introductory blog as we speak, by the way, so stay tuned for that! And TRPTK wouldn’t be TRPTK if we didn’t post our yearly stats in coffee consumption. This time, we bought 71 kilograms of coffee beans and brewed about 7.800 espressos, cappuccinos, latte macchiatos and other variants of the stuff. In other terms, in 2023, our coffee-to-music-ratio was about 600 espressos per release. Not bad, eh? The listeners & the statistics On to you guys and gals, our dear listeners. As always, we’re only using data from our own web store; other statements still need to come in and won’t be here before January or February. First of all, I’m happy to report we’ve seen an unprecedented 97% increase in sales! This is incredible, and one of the reasons we’ve been needing more and more staff, to keep up with the rising demand, order fulfillment, and customer support. Both physical and virtual (downloads) grew enormously, but relatively to that growth, there’s definitely a pattern to be seen. As you can see in the graph above, for both physical (CD, vinyl) and digital (Hi-res and Spatial Audio Downloads) in absolute terms, there’s been a significant grow. However, when we look at the graph on the right where we’ve plotted sales as percentage of that year’s totals, we see how music on physical media is still in decline and will most likely keep on being in decline. This, for us and any other classical indie such as ourselves, means that shifting focus might be necessary to keep up with the market. The formats Let’s break it down even further and check out whether things have changed format-wise this past year. Interestingly, whereas stereo has always been our biggest seller, multichannel (surround and especially immersive) downloads have grown massively. Check out the graph below. Whereas stereo used to be 83% of all our purchased downloads, this number has gone down to 64%. It’s still grown a lot in absolute terms, but as percentage of total sales this definitely paints a picture. The share of surround downloads has risen slightly from 9% to 10%, but the clear winner here is immersive, as represented by our Spatial Audio Downloads. From a mere 8% of total sales, to a whopping 27%! And interestingly, we’ve only really began speeding up our immersive productions since halfway this year. I’m curious what 2024 will bring. But first, let’s look at resolutions. There’s some interesting stuff to be seen here, check out the graph below. You can see that during last year, our 32bit DXD files have seen tremendous growth, and are now responsible for more downloads than all the other formats together, including 24bit DXD. This is in line with the fact that we’ve seen more and more people go for the 32bit DXD TRPTK Member Pass as opposed to the 24bit one. In surround, we see something quite different. 32bit DXD downloads have diminished relatively to total sales, and 24bit DXD has absorbed much of that growth. This might be because we’ve gotten to a point where our 24bit DXD downloads are so optimized, the sonic differences can be rather small, which, coupled with the fact that our 32bit surround downloads are about 2.2x bigger in size, 24bit seems like a more convenient format for surround. Lastly, let’s check out the immersive format comparison. Now, we should preface this bit by telling you that we’ve only begun to really offer a significant catalogue of immersive downloads this year. Before, there were only about 7 titles available, so this might skew the numbers a bit. But still, let’s have a look! Interestingly, we see a huge uptick for our MKV downloads, whereas the giant Discrete DXD packages (sometimes over 50GB!) diminish rapidly. I think this is mainly due to the fact that consumers are now finally getting on board with the whole Spatial Audio thing, and MKV is definitely a consumer-oriented format. Auro-3D has slightly diminished in relative terms, but we think this is just because MKV has grown so much it distorts the statistics a little bit. In conclusion There are some interesting things we’ve learned this year. First and foremost is that we never expected to literally double our sales figures in just a year. This has been amazing, but also quite a challenge to keep up with, simply since we’re a small team. But we’re ready for things to come in 2024 if you are too! Whilst our stereo downloads are still very popular, we’ve seen a massive growth in Spatial Audio Downloads, and video downloads aren’t even discussed in this blog (more on that in a later one!). Especially the MKV files with Dolby Atmos TrueHD, DTS:X Master Audio and Auro-3D 9.1 have become hugely popular. We’ll continue to update our catalogue and bring you more of this. Physical sales, however, are slimming down everywhere. Not just with our label; we’ve been hearing this from many colleagues too. The question is, however, how do we deal with that? We love our SACD and vinyl releases; you have something to hold, to read through a physical booklet, to keep with you… But on the other hand, we cannot deny the fact that both (SA)CD and vinyl are on their way out, slowly but surely. I think 2024 will be an interesting year again… To everyone out there, from our entire team to you and your family, we wish you a happy new year, and good health, much love, and great music in 2024! We’re excited for it!