Sizing Up Country Summer Sales

This graph compares YTD country and all-genre sales with the previous year.

Our final 2010 July sales report is in and country album sales are down YTD 9.8% which compares somewhat favorably with all genre sales which have tumbled 12% YTD. These numbers are according to Nielsen SoundScan and include sales of physical and digital albums.

Being down about 10% is nothing to cheer about, but depending upon upcoming release schedules it might be possible to make up the YTD deficit of about 2.21 million albums.

August and September 2009 featured nine Top 10 debuts which sold a total of 534,182 debut week units. Upcoming releases for Aug. and Sept. 2010 are listed below and may still be a work in progress.

It is not a stretch of the imagination, especially with projects dropping from Zac Brown Band and Kenny Chesney, to assume that this year’s new release debut week sales will match or improve on the previous year. However, last year the sales tally also enjoyed robust weekly numbers generated by Brad Paisley, Taylor Swift, Zac Brown and Hanna Montana that each scanned 20-40,000 units per week range. For the week ended 7/25/10 only Zac Brown (20k) and Lady A (25k) managed to break the 20k barrier. That week-after-week difference will also be felt in the YTD totals.

So is it likely that 2010 country YTD album sales totals will catch up with 2009 by the end of September? Simply stated, no, but bets are still open for the final quarter which will contain some high profile releases and could turn the tide…

2009 Aug. & Sept. Release Dates and First Wk. Sales
8/9/09 Sugarland 76,000 units
8/9/09 Gloriana 44,000
8/16/09 George Strait 155,000
8/16/09 Justin Moore 34,00
8/23/09 Reba 96,000
8/30/09 Now Country 33,000
9/9/09 Chris Young 36,000
9/9/09 Cross Canadian Ragweed 14,000
9/13/09 Brooks & Dunn 55,000

2010 Aug. & Sept. Release Dates
8/10/10 Blake Shelton
8/17/10 Trace Adkins
8/24/10 Little Big Town
9/14/10 Jamey Johnson
9/14/10 James Otto
9/21/10 Randy Houser
9/21/10 Zac Brown Band
9/21/10 SteelMagnolia
9/28/10 Kenny Chesney

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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years. [email protected]

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