Country Sees Digital Surge

Country consumers arguably have arrived fashionably late to the digital download party, but the YTD 2012 numbers show they are making up for lost time and partying down.

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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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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