Toast A Little Good Sales News

A music marketing exec. walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “Hey give me a drink, album sales are up 1% YTD this year.” Bartender who reads MusicRow says, “Sounds like you’ve already had enough to drink!”

Why?

Because although a trickle of good news is better than none, there really aren’t enough tidings yet to celebrate. All genre album sales have fallen about 34% during the six years from 2004 through 2010. For country music they have fallen 44% during the same period. Those are pretty steep declines. Figure in a paltry 1% YTD all-genre gain and about a 2% loss for country and yeah, you’d have to be drunk to cheer with enthusiasm.

The consumer press is embracing Nielsen SoundScan’s proclamation, “Album sales are up for the first time since 2004.” But the reality is this little kernel of truth is dwarfed by the enormity of the marketplace consolidation that has taken place. Also since 2004, album prices are lower, costs are higher and margins slimmer. But there is more upbeat news as well.

Here’s a few SoundScan Factoids

>>Digital album sales are up 19% through the first six months over 2010 and are on pace to set a new sales record at the end of the year.

>>E.T. by Katy Perry tops the chart for best selling digital song for the first six months of 2011 with 4.1 million downloads

>>Lady Gaga’s Born This Way experienced the biggest 1st week album sales of 2011 with 1,108,000 units.  The album sold a record 662,000 digital albums in the first week of release.

>>July 3, 2011 – Eminem’s Recovery becomes the first digital album to sell more than one million units; Adele’s 21 is on track to surpass a million units next week.

Looking at the various compiled Top 10 lists, Adele tops most of them. Nashville artists are included on the following…

Top Selling Albums: No. 4, Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party

Top Selling Physical Albums: No. 3, Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party; No. 9, Taylor Swift, Speak Now

Top Selling Catalog Albums: No. 2, Miranda Lambert, Revolution; No. 10, Johnny Cash, VH1 Story Tellers

Top Selling Digital Catalog Albums: No. 8, Miranda Lambert, Revolution

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About the Author

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

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