A major music label is fighting falling sales by targeting under-served feline listeners

Animal appeal?
Animal appeal?
Image: Reuters/Carl Court/Pool
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There isn’t an indicator of the desperate times befalling the music industry as good as this: Universal Music, one of the world’s three biggest record labels, is releasing an album for cats.

Not of cats. Or featuring cats. For cats.

Cellist and music researcher David Teie is the composer of Music for Cats, which started as a Kickstarter campaign and contains sounds and riffs meant to soothe distressed cats. It features musicians from the US National Symphony Orchestra, as well as purring and suckling noises, and is reportedly the first product from a major music label that’s not meant for human consumption. 

Financially, Universal might actually be onto something. Cats have been discovered to evoke unusual fondness from their owners—though they’re still far from people’s favorite pet—and there’s no easier customer to cater toward than a besotted animal lover. (Evidence: the exploding market for gourmet dog food.)

But new opportunities aside, the move is still pretty telling of the state of the record industry.

Music for Cats will be available for sale around the world on Oct. 28. Contrary to how it seems, the “absolutely serious” project isn’t a one-off gimmick: A Universal spokesperson told the Guardian that, to the label, animals are a huge untapped market, and if Teie’s album is successful, music for dogs and horses could be next.

“If you really look into it, what’s silly is the idea that only one species could have music available for it,” said Teie, who is actually allergic to cats.