Album Sales Hit Their Lowest Levels Ever…

Reports about the death of the album aren’t so greatly exaggerated, after all.  According to Nielsen Soundscan stats just shared by Billboard, US-based album sales are now dropping to levels never experienced or measured before.  Nielsen first started tracking albums in 1991.

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The critical watermark is 5 million weekly sales, aggregated across all formats: CDs, vinyl, digital albums, etc.  According to the data, albums sales have been slipping below the 5 million-mark for 5 consecutive weeks.  That’s the first time that’s ever happened.

Meanwhile, half-year album sales are down 5.6 percent to 142 million units, which also covers everything: CDs, vinyl, digital albums, etc.

And the strangest part about all this?

 

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20 Responses

  1. FarePlay
    FarePlay

    So many factors contribute to this, not just the regression to a digital singles world, initially brought on by Napster and other file sharing networks.
    One of the taglines that the digerati are so fond of using is that CDs are basically a rip off because, now, you spend $10 or less for one song, implying that most releases only have one or two songs that you would even want to own. Frankly, as a long term purchaser of CDs and LPs, I find that for the most part BS. Do I own CDs/LPs with one or two good songs, yes. Very few.
    Once again, it has a great deal to do with perception. And as an industry, we have spent too much money in litigation and too little on focussing resources on what really matters. Music inspires people to do great things and look at their world in a new way. It has value, tremendous value.

    Reply
    • Tune Hunter
      Tune Hunter

      You could not verbalize it any better way!

      “Music inspires people to do great things and look at their world in a new way. It has value, tremendous value.”

      ..and for that reason we cannot allow to stream it away for near nothing!

      Discovery Moment Monetization: get the cash when they hear it for the first time! You want to listen to it again? Streamer or buyer must pay $.49 at the discovery time.
      No free Shazams or other ID services, no radio display!

      Reply
    • Toy Needle
      Toy Needle

      Hello? Buy a CD for a single track? That’s a quaint notion. CD sales are down across the board because young music consumers download their music, they don’t buy discs. Get hep.

      Reply
  2. David
    David

    The last part may mean something to those who know what MM units are, but could you please explain for the rest of us?
    And yes, I did try Googling it, and no, I didn’t get any first-page results that looked relevant.

    Reply
  3. wallow-T
    wallow-T

    In roughly the same time frame as the sales graph, 6 summer movies with budgets over $100 million crashed.
    I suspect the causes are cultural and economic.

    Reply
  4. Yves Villeneuve
    Yves Villeneuve

    Did music streaming increase in the same period, and did its revenues increase enough to compensate for lost music sales, albums and singles? Inquiring minds would like to know.

    Reply
  5. RIAA STATS
    RIAA STATS

    2011 digital album + 2011 physical album = $4,172,000,000
    2012 digital album + 2012 physical album = $3,737,000,000
    A decrease of 10%
    So far this year, it’s a decrease of 5.6%.
    Isn’t this GOOD NEWS?

    Source: 2012 Year End Industry Shipment and Revenue Statistics

    Reply
  6. RIAA
    RIAA

    2011 Physical CD units: 240.8 million
    2012 Physical CD units: 210.9 million
    A decrease of 12.4% from 2011 to 2012.
    2012 to 2013 only see a decrease of 5.6%.

    But I guess DMN forgot to mention it…..

    Reply
    • Tune Hunter
      Tune Hunter

      Whoever you are Mr. RIAA your pro-streaming arguments are hopless!
      100% growth for streaming will not impress me. Big money and big names propelling a rat race!
      They are cancer killing all other monetization avenues, also those not activated yet. Net result Music Industry which is undiscovered hand and glove fit with internet will plateu at 20 instead 100 billion dollars.
      I hope we will STOP them!

      Reply
  7. Kris
    Kris

    Well it is bound to keep falling year after year! I predicted the trend over 5 years ago from the sales in 2001.

    2000 = 730 million CD’s
    2001 = 712 million CD’s
    2002 = 649.5 million CD’s
    2003 = 635.8 million CD’s
    2004 = 651.1 million CD’s
    2005 = 598.9 million CD’s
    2006 = 588.2 million CD’s
    2007 = 500.5 million CD’s
    2008 = 428.4 million CD’s
    2009 = 374 million CD’s
    2010 = 326 million CD’s
    **(Difference)**
    2001 = 18% – = 18%
    2002 = 9.6% – = 11.03% —-(6.97%)
    2003 = 2.1% – = 12.9% —-(1.87%)
    2004 = 1.02 + = 10.8% —-(2.1%)
    2005 = 8.02% – = 17.9% —-(7.1%)
    2006 = 1.09% – = 19.4% —-(1.5%)
    2007 = 15% – = 31.4% —-(12%)
    2008 = 14.4% – = 41.3% —-(9.9%)
    2009 = 12.7% – = 48.7% —-(7.4%)
    2010 = 12.8% – = 55.3% —-(6.6%)

    2010 = (Est. 11%) = 332.8 million —- (326 million CD’s) ( +6.8 million)
    2011 = (Est. 10%) = 299.52 million
    2012 = (Est. 9%) = 272.5 million
    2013 = (Est. 8%) = 250.7 million
    2014 = (Est. 7%) = 233.1 million
    2015 = (Est. 6%) = 219.1 million
    2016 = (Est. 5%) = 208.1 million
    2015 = (est. 4%) = 199.7 million
    It’s eventually going to disminish in time!

    Reply

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