A quick look at our YTD comparison chart (above) shows that it’s seemingly going to take more than Black Friday sales, a big turkey dinner, and this year’s abbreviated release schedule to put country music buyers in a mood to buy more units than last year. The slide from +9.8% to today’s itsy bitsy +.8% has taken only six weeks and shows faint chance of reversing direction.
Taylor Swift’s Live DVD/CD package hit bins this past week landing in the No. 2 spot with about 77,000 units behind Scotty McCreery who rang registers almost 88,000 times to earn the No. 1 position (again). McCreery’s Idol fans are on a wild sales spree, racking up close to 588,000 units in a scant eight weeks. With five weeks to go, to have the YTD% equal zero, we need to sell 7.84 million additional units for a year end total of 43.72 million. For those math wizards in the audience, it means 1.567 million for each of the remaining weeks. (We actually got close this week shifting 1.38 million.)
Like love in the Spring, a young man’s fancy turns to tracks when album sales disappoint. Increasingly, tracks and TEA seem to be where the action is, if not the large profits. Country track sales this week were off slightly from last week (-2%), but clicked in at 2.504 million downloads.
Toby Keith “Red Solo Cup” (62k) and Luke Bryan “I Don’t Want This Night…” (54k) held onto the top two spots again this week. Band Perry “If I Die Young” (43k), Lady Antebellum “Just A Kiss” (39k) and Blake Shelton “God Gave Me You” (36k) filled out the top 5.
Do we need better track sales accounting so we can measure TEA (track equivalent, albums: 10=1) both overall and by artist? Track sales aren’t as profitable as albums, and there is a smaller group of artists that are reaping a majority of the track sales benefits, but despite these issues it seems more likely each week that labels will have to adjust to these new parameters to stay in the game.
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