Just 1% of Releases Account for 82% of New Album Sales

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An incredible 81.7% of new album sales come from just 1% of new release titles, according to details released by Nielsen Soundscan on Wednesday morning.

“It’s ridiculous,” commented Nielsen executive David Bakula during the presentation at Canadian Music Week in Toronto.

But it’s been that way for years, at least in the US.  According to the same Nielsen dataset, the top 1% accounted for 83.3% of new album sales in 2009, and 82.8% in 2008.  And, the figure was just shy of 80% in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

The story is much better in Canada, where stronger breadth and diversify exists – at least on frontline releases.  In 2010, the top 1% accounted for 57.6% of overall sales last year, though previous years have also shown a lopsidedness.  In 2009, the figure was 67.9%, and earlier years were mostly in the 60-percent range.