The Number of New Releases Is Suddenly Nosediving

Just 1,215 albums sold more than 10,000 units in the US last year, according Nielsen Soundscan stats.

But now it turns out that the number of new albums released was also sharply down last year.  That is, down 22 percent to approximately 75,000 releases, according to the same dataset (as reported by Billboard).  The figure was 96,000 in 2009, and a peak of 108,000 in 2008.

So what’s going on?  Counting questions immediately come to mind, simply because anyone can release an album these days.  That includes that magnum opus of farting noises, and not every album is registered with Soundscan.  Yet Nielsen is applying a similar methodology year-over-year – though ardent critics of that methodology and inclusion process include Tunecore CEO Jeff Price.

This data also aggregates both physical and digital releases.

11 Responses

  1. Avatar
    JanonymousR

    Could just be that 2008-09 had an out-of-whack amount of album releases. Would a band’s release of an old album digitally count as a new release? 2010’s results are in line with 06 and 07.

    Would like to see the results from 2001-05 as well

  2. Avatar
    P Funk Fan

    Every and any song, and album I want to listen to, I YouTube it. I can’t see myself buying any new or old music from this day on. … sorry musicians.

  3. Avatar
    @pkmonaghan

    Patrick Monaghan
    Just 1,215 (out of 75,000 NR) albums sold more than 10,000 units in the US last year.

  4. Avatar
    @michaelstjames

    Michael St James
    Has the major music industry hit a tipping point? 10k less releases 2009, 20k less albums released 2010

  5. Avatar
    Casual Observer

    The issue is quality, not quantity. And quality too is nose diving.

  6. Avatar
    Gia

    There needs to be price fixing…by creating an industry standard of charging You Tube and other free networks…from 5 cents a play up to 75 cents plus? a play for published artist..

    • Avatar
      JanonymousR

      Might be illegal to price fix. Would be hard to make the argument its anti-competitive though.

  7. Avatar
    benstauffer

    Do you have prior years’ # of albums that sold > 10K handy? Would be interested to see if/how the tail is shifting in addition to just overall # of releases.

  8. Avatar
    MH Brown

    Someone needs to take a stats class. There are too few years measured to make any inference. Regardless, it looks like a normal deviation to me, not a “nosedive.” It is at the same level as a couple of years before and far higher than the year 2000 level (which is strangely put in as if it were 2005.)

  9. Avatar
    Econ

    I’m inclined to agree with the first poster. Recording industry bubble is just as much a product of too-easy credit as the housing bubble.