Interesting data compiled by Billboard from Nielsen's SoundScan report for the first 6 months of the year. Here are 5 developments that caught our attention:
- Justin Timberlake not only has the best selling album so far—physical and digital—it’s the only one to crack the 1 million sales mark. (It’s actually sold more than 2 million copies.)
Surprising, considering the audience for a pop star like Timberlake would likely, um, "file share" his new album to death, but no. Oh, and more albums have gone gold (500,000 copies sold) at this point (15) than by mid-2012 (11). But overall album sales have declined more than 5%.
- Digital sales have decreased 2.4% from 2012.
As folks transition over to streaming services—which have seen their client base increase 24% from last year(!)—this will likely be a continuing trend. Looks like streaming might be eating into overall sales. Hmm...
- Vinyl sales of new albums has increased 33%.
This is a tad surprising but a nice bit of news. Also, it turns out the vast majority of vinyl consumers are fans of indie rock. Overwhelmingly so. Duh. Who else but DJs have that much love for vinyl, generally speaking?
- Sales are down at chains and independent stores alike.
Both are doing 17% less business. Sad, but true.
- So called “heritage acts” (artists who appeal to an older—i.e. baby boomer—audience) and country music still sell a respectable amount of CDs.
This isn't news. And if we could find a commercial spot with cheap rent so that we could open a record store specializing in jazz, classical and a helping of classic rock, we'd be making money off it, too.
And yeah, CDs sound way better than digital files. Significantly better.