Weekly Register: Wrapping Up 2013

featuredCountry music entered 2014 with a strong presence, with New Year’s Eve performances by several big name artists. Let’s hope this presence is a forecast for bright sales in 2014.

Unfortunately, sales continued to slump in the final week of 2013. Overall album sales are down 11 percent from last week, while Country album sales are down 29 percent week over week.

Veteran stars Garth Brooks and Beyonce continue to top chart this week. Brooks holds dominion over the chart with Blame It All On My Roots (Pearl Records Inc.) remaining at No. 1 (No. 6 overall), selling another 90k units this week (770k units RTD). Meanwhile, Beyonce’s self-titled album persists as the No. 1 overall album for the third consecutive week, selling 310k more units (1.3 million RTD).

Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night” is the top Country track this week (No. 21 overall), selling 123k additional units (1.5 million RTD). The singer’s current hit “Drink A Beer” comes in at No. 2. Florida Georgia Line also claims 2 singles in the top 5 with “Stay” at No. 3 and “Cruise” at No. 4. The top overall track goes to Pitbull and Ke$ha, with their hit “Timber” selling another 442k units this week (1.9 million RTD).

Year In Review 

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tracksAlbums: YTD album sales in 2013 fell short of 2012 with overall sales down 8.4 percent (289 million units sold in 2013, 315 million sold in 2012) and Country sales down 10.7 percent (39 million units sold in 2013, 44 million units sold in 2012). Country’s digital sales also fell in comparison to 2012, with 10.9 million albums sold digitally this year and 11.2 million sold in 2012. Though repetitive, it’s important to note that around the same time last year Taylor Swift’s RED set a high sales standard with 3.1 million units sold RTD.

Analyzing the TEA index (where ten tracks equal one album), overall album sales are down 7.6 percent, while Country album sales are down 8.4 percent.

Tracks: YTD, track sales declined with respect to 2012. Overall track sales are down 5.8 percent (1.2 billion units sold in 2013, 1.3 billion sold in 2012) and Country track sales are down 2 percent (163 million sold in 2013, 166 million sold in 2012). The same time last year 44 singles sold more than 100k units, whereas this year only 32 singles sold more than 100k units.

Decline in Digital Sales: For the first time in a decade, the U.S. music industry has ended the year with a decrease in digital music sales. Digital track sales were down 5.7 percent from 2012 (selling 1.26 billion units this year and 1.34 billion in 2012) and digital album sales were down .1 percent from 2012 (selling 117.6 million units this year and 117.7 million units in 2012). The popularity of streaming services may explain the decline in digital sales. Additionally, 2013 saw fewer million selling releases than 2012, which included Taylor Swift’s RED (3.1 million units sold) and Adele’s 21 (4.4 million units sold). Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience was the only album to sell more than one million units in 2013, with 2.4 million units sold. With the continual rise of streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, we’ll need to keep on eye on how sales change in 2014.

Although there are no noteworthy debuts next week, January will see releases from several artists, including Jennifer Nettles, Jon Pardi, Rosanne Cash and Ronnie Milsap.

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About the Author

Michael Smith is the Operations Manager at MusicRow Enterprises, where he works in the sales and editorial departments, and manages MusicRow's CountryBreakout Chart. He holds a BA from Vanderbilt University. Please send feedback to [email protected]

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