The grids, all based on data from Nielsen SoundScan tell the story. Country digital album sales are up 21.6% over last year and now represent over a quarter of all country physical/digital album sales. Last year at this time the increase in digital album purchases by country consumers was a more modest 13% showing the digital transition is accelerating. That is not to say we should stop manufacturing plastic CDs, since they still account YTD 2012 for about 74.4% of the business.
But the digital wave is not limited to albums. Country track downloads are up 16.5%. Doing the TEA (track equivalent album; 10 tracks = 1 album) math shows that country TEAs are also up a full 16.79%.
This is the first year that we can actually compute an apples-to-apples comparison at album sales with TEAs included. Measuring TEA sales for 2011 and 2012 YTD we find that country TEA album sales are ahead a robust 16.79% and if included in total album sales the TEAs increase country’s YTD lead to 8.87%.
Yes, it’s too early in the year to be cheering as if country had somehow just won the Superbowl, but good news is welcome. So I say to all the country fans arriving at the party via a click or a link, “Come one, come all, buy an album, buy a track, just keep clicking and coming back.”
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