Sales Trilogy Part 1: 2011 Country Sales Mostly Flat

Breaking: According to Nielsen SoundScan, Country album sales have ended 2011 down 1.8% compared with 2010.

Another country sales year is now in the record books and it was a sixteenth-note type finish. Not as close as this year’s Republican presidential Iowa Caucus (8 votes), but hopefully more memorable.

Country album sales ended 2011 down 1.8% representing a total deficit of 795,000 units. But additionally, country benefited from the sale of 148 million digital tracks. This was the first year that country track sales were broken out by SoundScan, so we are unable to compare the tally with last year. But since all-genre track sales were up 8% for the year, and knowing that country digital album sales were up 27% this year, it is probably a safe guess that country track sales grew faster than the average 8%. In that case, a quick wave of the TEA magic wand (track equivalent album; 10 tracks= 1 album) would indicate that overall, 2011 country sales were flat or even a wee bit up.

We’ll have a detailed analysis of the year’s performance later in the week, but for now here is the post-holiday wrap.

Lady Antebellum owned the top of the chart again this week shifting over 53k units, followed by Jason Aldean, who got to throw his kinda party ringing up over 24k units. In the third position it was cheery Scotty McCreery, with over 22k units and a clear as day view of Platinum goalposts in his near future. Filling out the Top 10 in positions 4-10 were Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Taylor Swift, The Band Perry, Zac Brown Band, Miranda Lambert and Eric Church (now in Gold+ status).

If you haven’t heard country’s latest party anthem, “Red Solo Cup,” then you really should get out more. It took four writers (two sets of twins) to perfect this remarkable ode to the disposable vessel of choice for holiday toasts. But it was worth it. Under Toby Keith’s inspired tutelage, the song is the embodiment of a big fat hit. This week it added over 206k downloads to its track sales total which is now over 904k. That showing was enough to earn a No. 11 position on the all genre Tracks chart, but not enough to get to first place which was owned by LMFAO (Laughing My F****ing A** Off). LMFAO’s “Sexy And I Know It” was downloaded an incredible 416k+ times.

Returning to the country tracks list, Taylor Swift landed in positions No. 2 and No. 4 with her “Safe & Sound” collaboration (151k+) and latest track, “Ours” (92k). Lucky Luke Bryan’s “I Don’t Want This Night To End,” moved to No. 3 with 128k+ downloads.

Factoids

  • YTD Digital album % of Total Album Sales—31.2% (same week YTD 2010—26.4%)
  • YTD Country Digital Album Sales % of Total Country Album Sales—19.1% (same week YTD 2010—14.7%)

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Journalist, entrepreneur, tech-a-phile, MusicRow magazine founder, lives in Nashville, TN. Twitter him @davidmross or read his non-music industry musings at Secrets Of The List

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