Gravely low sales on the AJ Popular Files list

As someone who’s been checking up on the PF list nearly every week for 3 years, this worries me. Sales are incredibly low right now for a time where they shouldn’t be. Last year (and the year before, and the year before that) around this time, there were always at least 1-2 tracks that broke through the 100 sales p/w mark. Now the top seller is hovering around 70-80 and the entry point to the page is 14 sales (with the same amount of total items displayed as before the UI change). That’s low. I haven’t seen a consistent 14-sale threshold since early 2015.

I think we all know what’s behind this, but I thought I’d share anyway.


…and only i’m bothered with the title names of the tracks in this popular files list for 3 years, their still expanding more and more. Though missing good old days, James :slight_smile:


Sales are low not in PF list only.


With daily advertising of elements (Unlimited audio, video, and web asset downloads!) right on audio jungle’s site, it is easy to conclude that this banner ad plays a role in declining units sold on the AJ market. Customers are being asked to consider not buying sync licenses but instead, buy a subscription for unlimited downloads for a very cheap price. It is the content providers that have created this competing and extremely low priced option for buyers.

It will be interesting to see if all elements music authors earn more total monthly income from the new subscription option. If you don’t after 4 months, it may be a sign that subscription models don’t help music producers increase their revenue.


A few questions are raised:

  1. Does selling audio via the Elements subscription model benefit music producers?

  2. Does selling audio via the Elements subscription model benefit Envato?

  3. What happens if this model is great for Envato, but turns out not to be so great for music producers (many of whom sell exclusively on the AudioJungle marketplace)?


Unfortunately this is clearly an effect of Elements and by now we all now it.

I hope Envato eventually will bring some balance between the marketplace and Element because right now Elements is consuming the marketplace.

I see more and more frustrated authors and this is not good at all.


James, with all due respect the Elements subscription model has in my observation destroyed the Audio Jungle marketplace for one-off sync licensing for uninvited authors. Mercilessly and unrelenting advertising to suck potential buyers away from AJ to elements has been unfair, removing the Envato credit system has affected a previous client base but hey - all Elements contributors will get their Elements payout this month. What’s there to complain about?


Not sure what any of that means. I chose to participate in Elements because I was invited by Envato. I am not Envato and I am not responsible for Envato’s marketing decisions regarding Elements, nor do I have anything to do with the removal of the credits system.

Quite a lot, actually. Even more for AJ-only authors. Envato assured us that Market sales wouldn’t suffer at the hands of Elements, but the stats say otherwise.


James - you are an outstanding author who has produced tracks within your portfolio that has really hit the mark. The point I was trying to make, probably badly, was that Elements has seriously affected AJ sales and now everyone is feeling and reeling from this. Stats cannot lie and I sure miss the open and free AJ that I once belonged to. I guess I am having a sour grapes moment since sales for January and February have been way off the usual mark for me.


Thanks for the kind words Graham.

I miss that AJ too. Lately AJ is becoming a cluttered, saturated disaster where authors no longer have a chance at cracking a successful track because there are so many lazy, cheap, carbon-copy tracks with firebird mutes to compete with (seriously guys, quit using those samples - it’s beyond old now).

I guess I can’t complain much as I’ve been graced with a few hit tracks in my time here, but it sure would be nice to still have that opportunity to continue with AJ. At this rate, as soon as my top sellers begin to fizzle, it’s lights out for me. No amount of new items will keep things going. AJ is too far gone.


I think that there is no reason to worry about the popular list. This list will not “die” completely soon, it will probably “die” in part (as they are always in sight of the customers and enjoy a lot of views), I’m more worried about new tracks that remain almost entirely with zeroes. The meaning of uploading new items is lost.


Someone at the community forum said that the musicians often go to law school to get another profession, so roll up your sleeves guys. I would also add that in our era of globalization, money began to be made out of nothing, a lot of monetization models, mining, sponsorships etc… Do not hold on to one source of income, diversify. Now is the time when knowledge is power, your brain now most valuable resource.


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.


According to Ben’s post about AJ sales not long time ago this might be the case: 2018 Envato Annual Public Impact Statement

But as well as a decline in popular files list, I do question the decline in “Top New Files-In the last day”. Take these numbers with a grain of salt, but I think last year a good week day in Top New Files could be like 70-80 sales the last day, while now it is around 30-55 on a normal week day. Am I wrong or do someone else remember similiar numbers for totally fresh new items?

I also wonder if Ben is talking about growing sales number or just growing AJ revenue because of ADP.


I would guess revenue, as sales numbers really aren’t that relevant anymore. That’s another thing I forgot to bring up in my previous post - that the crazy focus on pure sales numbers, rather than earnings, has become even less relevant as we now have flexible pricing.

If you must quantify a track’s worth, earnings would be the logical choice. Not sales numbers on a $0.01 track. :thinking:

Most other big stock sites stopped displaying sales numbers and earnings years ago. It really doesn’t do much other than inspire copycats and hackers, boost egos, concentrate sales to a few select tracks (buyer group mentality), and scare buyers away from 0 sale tracks.

Of course, this is most likely not that good for mega sellers.


Wouldn’t an Audiojungle exclusive item being included in Elements be a violation of its exclusivity? It blew my mind to see that a recent long-time number one AJ hit is also available at the Elements trough.


Very good point

After new year I’ve lost almost half sales. so I can see that not only me have that issue :frowning: , so life goes on :smile: I belive that this issue will be noticed by envato! - in my opinion elemnts is not good idea. take care guys!

James could you tell mee (you are on elements) what about elemens income? how it works? thanks

James, I have been in the music for media business, and really the “music business” for 3 decades and what I can say is that success never lasts forever. Talented writers and even singers and “side” musicians all hit a huge break at some point, but eventually that “Big Break” fades away and unfortunately, so does the consistent revenue flow.

What kind of “breaks” am I talking about? Well it could be landing a series of big TV spots that pay big sync fees, or work for hire fees, and a lot of performance royalties. It could be writing for a popular tv show that provides good stable income for 5 years, but then the show dies. It could be singing on a huge USA advertising campaign and collecting residuals for 2 years. It could be getting booked to be in the band of a high profile TV show like Saturday Night Live, the the Late show, or performaing every night at a theatre (Union musician, steady gig, Insurance paid for)

These are events and breaks that provide stable and good income for short to medium term periods.

Eventually everyone has to reinvent themselves. I have lived and worked in a major market for many years and what I can say is that every professional musician I have ever met, and recorded with has had to reinvent themselves and their revenue streams. Not just once in a career, but probably 3 or 4 times.

Nobody remains on the top of the charts forever. My theory is that eventually everyone who needs to buy your track will have already bought it.

Like Flumen, I have found a way to increase revenue, not sales, but revenue is up since ADP. Can everyone simply forget about sales? Sales are needed, but now that you set your own price, you can look for other ways to increase revenue. Revenue is all that matters now. Would you rather sell one license a month at $999? or would you feel better if you sold 50 licenses a month for $15 ($750 in revenue)?

I still really believe that most corporate, professional customers simply do not care about price points between $20 and $60. They will search for what they need and buy what they find if it works best for their job. That was the way I behaved when I sought out a photo for an album I released 3 months back. I paid $25 for a photo. It just was not worth my time to seek out $5 options. I found what we wanted and bought it.

Buried under all this though is the “elements” monster. It’s pretty obvious that Envato is very cautious about allowing too many authors in there, because if too many people moved in there, the AJ market would implode. They seem to be selecting who they want to “take care of”. They have to see to it that you guys get a nice check each month to keep that beast alive. If 1000 more authors and 10,000 more tracks moved over, everyone would earn less from elements I’d think. However, if your combined monthly revenue is not going up, it may be time to jump ship. There is a reason why Envato is not presenting any data to you guys. No download stats are shared, no licenses are shared…really nothing is shared. And they are taking 50% of the pie as opposed to 30% from the AJ system.

I’m still shocked that so many talented authors see this market as a “good deal”.