By the Numbers: The Complete First Half Sales Statistics

The complete first-half breakdown in the US, as supplied by Nielsen Soundscan.

All commentary offered by Nielsen Soundscan, re-posted verbatim.   These are US stats.

Total Sales Units (2010 vs. 2009)

  • Mid Year

o   Overall albums are down -11.0%, with 154MM units sold

          • Physical albums are down -17.7%, with 112MM units sold
          • Digital albums are up +13.7%, with 42MM units sold

o   Digital tracks are flat (down -0.2%), with 597MM units sold

  • Q1 (Only)

o   Overall albums are down -7.9%, with 82MM units sold

          • Physical albums are down -14.4%, with 60MM units sold
          • Digital albums are up +16.0%, with 22MM units sold

o   Digital tracks are down -0.9%, with 312MM units sold

  • Q2 (Only)

o   Overall albums are down -14.2%, with 72MM units sold

          • Physical albums are down -21.3%, with 52MM units sold
          • Digital albums are up +11.3%, with 20MM units sold

o   Digital tracks are up +0.5%, with 285MM units sold

Formats:  Sales Units (2010 vs. 2009)

  • Mid Year

o   CD sales are down -17.9%, with over 110MM units sold

          • Current CD are -14.7%
          • Catalog CD are -22.1%

o   Digital albums are up +13.7%, with 42MM units sold

          • Current Digital Albums are +15.5%
          • Catalog Digital Albums are +11.8%

o   Vinyl sales are up 9.1%, with over 1.3MM units sold

o   Digital tracks are flat (down -0.2%), with 597MM units sold

  • Q1 vs. Q2 album sales changes:  Q1 album sales were down -7.9% vs. the prior year. Q2 album sales were down -14.2% vs. the prior year.  Q1 performed better in 2010 due to (a) a strong new release schedule (Lady Antebellum, Sade), and (b) carryover (Lady Gaga, Black Eyed Peas).

o   Sales of Current (releases 18 months and newer) tell the story:  In recent years,  Q1 typically sees declines in the high teens.  In Q1 2010 the decline was only -4.1%.  Q2 sales declines also performed slightly better than in recent years past.   Current declined -13.2% in Q2 2010 vs. 2009.  The year before, the Q2 decline was -19.3% for Q2.

  • Catalog: catalog sales continue to lag behind sales of current (releases 18 months and newer) in 2010.  At the mid-year mark, current is down -8.5% and catalog is down -13.9% from the prior year.   Similarly, the digital tracks follow a similar trend: current is up 4.9% and catalog down -3.4%
  • Digital track growth:  In Q1 it was noted that digital track sales were down -0.9% from the prior year.  Sales are up once again in Q2, up +0.5%.  Digital tracks are expected to continue to experience growth through the remainder of 2010.
  • Eminem:  Recoverysold nearly 1.1MM units in 2 weeks, 741 of them 1st week.  It was the biggest first week since AC/DC’s Black Ice in 2008 (over a year and half ago).