Weekly Register: Predicting An Up Year For Country

Happy 4th of July sales fans and welcome to this week’s half-year 2012 edition of the Weekly Register. Yes, we have passed the halfway mark for 2012 which makes the moment ripe for comparison and prognostication. Hopefully, we can predict a better scenario than the 100+ degree temperatures which our weather bureau keeps calling. Our weekly grid shows country enjoying a 5.8% YTD lead ahead of 2011 while all-genre lags behind last year about 3.3%

Looking at country in 2010 the first six months of album sales accounted for 43% of the year’s total. In 2011 that percentage was 44%. Country albums sales (physical and digital) YTD 2012 are 19.467 million. So averaging the half-year percentage for the last two years predicts 2012 year-end country sales will be 44.75 million or an uptick Y/Y of 4.26%.

Repeating the last paragraph for all genre numbers showed the first six months equaling 44% and 47% for 2010 and 2011 respectively. (Using 45.5% predicts the year will end flat Y/Y with 2011.)

So Weekly Register is officially guessing that country sales will end the year up about 4% and all genre sales will be flat.

Country Quarters: 21%-22%-22%-35%
Based on the above discussion, we can estimate that country sales for Q1, Q2, Q3 might total about 65% of the year’s sales (about 22% per quarter), leaving Q4 the herculan task of ringing up a whopping 35% of total annual sales. Now you can appreciate why sales departments work so hard to create special releases and marketing plans around the fourth quarter. That three month endcap on the year makes a lot of difference when they have to present sales numbers to the “higher ups” in Jan.

The Week’s Tonnage
Chris Cagle enters the country album list at No. 6 this week with almost 15k scans (37% digital). Higher up on the sales chain, Mr. Chesney saw week 2 sales of his Fishbowl release sink 68% to about 61k, while still keeping him afloat in the No. 1 position. Luke Bryan remains in the No. 2 spot again this week. His album has been on sale for 47 weeks, but still added almost 22k units to his RTD total of 1.225 million. Bryan’s label, “scrappy Capi” is obviously not throwing in the proverbial towel till the last merger document gets signed. That Murphy Rd. crew (with assists from Jackson and Church) proudly owns positions 2, 3 and 5 on this week’s Top 75.

The Top 200 list this week was a battle of the bands with Linkin Park edging out Maroon 5 for the No. 1 position with scans of 223k. Maroon 5 was close behind in no. 2 with 222k. Justin Beiber’s week two slide (about the same as Chesney) was 69% which landed the hearthrob in No. 3.

In country’s digital tracks arena Luke Bryan’s “Drunk On You” (77k units) remains on top, with Little Big Town’s “Pontoon” climbing from 4 to 2 (72k units) and Chesney’s “Come Over” sliding slightly from 2 to 3 with about 66k downloads. Keep an eye on Gloriana’s “(Kissed You) Good Night” which passes the 500k RTD mark this week as it inches from No. 10 to No. 9 (37k).

Zac Brown Band’s July 10 release, Uncaged, will be country’s next big platter-to-matter on the summer sales train. All aboard….

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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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