Well, there is no doubt that the Popular Files list has taken a hit lately. Those numbers are easy to see for everyone, BUT, what about the total number of AJ sales/earnings? As those numbers are not public, only insiders know this.
I say this because my own personal sales (as in earnings from the marketplace, I don’t have music on Elements) are normal (low 4 figures), even a bit above average. So, based on this data (1 portfolio), I could be led to believe that sales are normal to above normal. Someone else might look at their sales and think that the AJ website is about to disappear into a black hole.
My theory is that this is more a case of earnings being more spread out to more people, rather than an overall decline.
I believe that the redesign of the Popular Files list as well as Elements together have contributed to this, with the redesign actually being the bigger factor.
I think that any mega seller will be disappointed at Elements sales, while low to medium sellers will see an increase in overall earnings. The contributor bonus will be a larger part of the payout, and they have gotten a second chance at being visible in the search.
With risk of sounding a bit harsh, do the mega sellers who have enjoyed a search result monopoly on the most popular search terms for years really think that that is fair, or normal? It’s not. They have enjoyed an incredible privilege and marketing advantage because of the way AJ has been designed.
Is 140 weekly sales for one track to be considered “normal” while most tracks see 0-2 sales? Just because it has been like that before? This is the result of someone making the decision to constantly promote certain tracks and portfolios, by site design and more or less static search results.
At Elements, the search results are different, and there is no popular files list. Suddenly, other authors are ecstatic about their sales, while the ones used to big earnings are disappointed. Who is ecstatic about sales? Well, type in some of the popular search terms in the Elements search and you will see.
In the end, it all comes down to visibility. Sure, the top authors all have incredible music, but so do at least 100 other authors who have only seen a fraction of the earnings.
These are just my thoughts and theories, and you are very welcome to disagree and prove me wrong.