Pinpointing 2011 Country Sales


Country album sales are up an astounding 4% YTD as of 8/7/2011 with 22,930,000 units scanned. That is some good news. However, before we open the second bottle of Cristal Champagne (on sale HERE for $295 ea.) it seems appropriate to survey 2010 and compare it with possible expectations and release schedules for 2011.

Graph 1 (above): This line graph shows how 2010 sales increased during the period from mid-August through mid-November.

Graph 2 (right): This shows how the rate of sales increased last year (2010) during the same period covered in Graph 1. Note that late Oct and Nov. show particularly steep increases generated by Taylor Swift, Sugarland, Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban debuts.

Table 1: This table shows the albums and debut week sales totals that occurred between data points on Graph 1.

Table 1: 2010 High Roller Album Debuts
8/15/2010: Blake Shelton-33k
9/5/10: Little Big Town-42k, Trace Adkins-50k
9/19/10: Jamey Johnson-63k
10/3/10: Kenny Chesney-184k, ZBB 153, Billy Currington-45k
10/17/10: Darius Rucker-101k, Band Perry-53k, Toby Keith-71k
10/31/10: Taylor Swift-1,047, Sugarland-202.7
11/21/10: Jason Aldean-193k, Rascal Flatts-165k, Keith Urban-162k, Reba-64k, Brad Paisley Hits-31


Looking at 2010 there are 17 “heavy hitter” releases on our list including Taylor Swift’s million plus effort and Sugarland’s 200k+ debut. Then we had Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Rascal Flatts and Zak Brown Band all in the 150-200k range.

This year’s schedule is not completely revealed, but MusicRow’s upcoming Album Release Calendar currently shows only six power titles ahead— Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, George Strait, Lady Antebellum, LeAnn Rimes and Miranda Lambert. However,  Trace Adkins just debuted (8/7/2011), with 47k (pretty close to last year’s 50k showing) and there are some newcomers on the list like Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alina that are shifting product nicely. Also contributing to 2011’s early lead are solid recent debuts from Eric Church, Blake Shelton, Chris Young and Justin Moore. However, to surpass 2010 country will need to find additional sales ammunition with which to entice consumers especially during this uncooperative economy.

Reader Challenge
Cook up some math-based scenarios and ring in below with your year-end prognostications in the comment area. Country scanned 43.718 million album units in 2010. Guess the correct first three digits of the 2011 sales total and win a free MusicRow subscription! Ready, set, GO!


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Category: Artist, Featured, Label, Sales/Marketing, Weekend

About the Author

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

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