(TEA) Taylor Equivalent Albums
With all the Taylor Swift tracks that fans are downloading we might consider renaming the Index to the above headline. Swift’s “…Never Ever…” single has scanned 1.46 million in 4 weeks and “Ronan” debuted this week with over 211k sales. Sales numbers are strongly influenced by release schedules, and Taylor’s track offerings are affecting the TEA balance. In fact, compared to last year the country index is up 5.56% while all-genre is only up 4.05%.
The numbers show that the shift to tracks is more pronounced this year among country consumers than overall fans, who likely shifted earlier as evidenced by country track sales being up 11.5% compared to all genre increase of only 6%. Further supporting this idea, digital country album sales are growing, but still only 27% of total albums, while all genre album sales are almost 39% digital. And finally, tracks and TEA are playing a larger role in Music City sales because country album sales have fallen from a high of 8.4% (5/13/12) to this week’s rather flat tally of .2% giving track sales more weight.
TEA methodology: Once again, let’s briefly review MusicRow’s TEA Index criteria. The Index measures physical, digital and TEA albums (track equivalent albums; 10 tracks=1 album) then calculates the percentage of total album sales that come from the TEA category. The idea is to measure TEA sales against the combination of physical and digital album sales. (Our numbers are gathered by industry sources from Nielsen SoundScan.)
As we slide into mid-September, we are experiencing the calm before the storm. This week Top 75 Current Country plummeted to slightly below 234k, one of the lowest weeks of 2012. Carrie Underwood (No. 1; 29k) and Luke Bryan (No. 2; 15k) led the charge with slight increases, but most every other album fell off. A rash of album product will be hitting physical and digital shelves soon from Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Toby Keith and others plus holiday sets from Lady Antebellum and Blake Shelton. How strong will the cash register winds blow? Well, Little Big Town released a Tornado this week…
The tracks department featured Ms. Swift in positions No. 1 and 2 as mentioned above followed by Carrie Underwood (No. 3; 74k), Little Big Town (No. 4; 71k) and Hunter Hayes (No. 5; 69k). Newcomers Florida Georgia Line are making inroads with their track “Cruise” (No. 7; 46k).
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