US ALBUM SALES FALL 4% IN FIRST HALF OF 2015 AS CD RULES MARKET
JULY 2, 2015 BY TIM INGHAM
Overall album sales in the US – real album sales, not counting ‘track/streaming equivalents’ – were down a not-catastrophic 4% year-on-year in the first six months of 2015… as streaming continued to soar.
According to new data from Nielsen/Billboard, 116.1 million album unit sales were clocked up versus 120.9 million in H1 2014.
As MBW’s analysis below shows, CD album sales – which were down 10% in H1 2015 to 56.6 million – claimed 49% of this total album sales market.
Despite digital album sales being down – by less than 1% to 53.7 million – downloads’ share of total album sales grew to 46%.
The growth of vinyl album sales kept on keeping on: the format grew 38.4% to 5.6 million in H1 2015, taking a 5% share of CD/digital/vinyl formats.
If you were to remove vinyl, CD unit sales would have counted for 51% of the total, with digital albums on 49%.
(Important note: this doesn’t count sales on cassette, mini-discs and other very peripheral formats.)
Meanwhile, the volume of on-demand track streams in the US nearly doubled in H1 2015 year-on-year, up 92% to 135.2 billion from 70.3 billion in H1 2014.
This stat includes YouTube, Vevo etc. as well as Spotify, Rdio and others. Indeed, video on-demand streaming was up 109% to 76.6 billion.
Audio on-demand streaming alone was up 74% to 58.6 billion plays.
Billboard reports that Taylor Swift’s 1989 was the biggest-selling LP of the six month period:
2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Selling Albums
1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (1,328,000 sold)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (965,000)
3. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (788,000)
4. Ed Sheeran, X (763,000)
5. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (763,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (727,000)
7. Kendrick Lamar, To Pimp a Butterfly (627,000)
8. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (478,000)
9. Various Artists, Now 53 (451,000)
10. Josh Groban, Stages (420,000)
When streaming equivalent albums (equating 1,500 streams from a single album as an LP sale) and track equivalent albums (equating 10 downloads from an album as an LP sale) are factored in, the mid-year chart looks like this:
2015’s Mid-Year Top 10 Albums (Based on Overall Equivalent Album Units)
1. Taylor Swift, 1989 (2,011,000 units)
2. Drake, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late (1,431,000)
3. Ed Sheeran, X (1,428,000)
4. Soundtrack, Fifty Shades of Grey (1,402,000)
5. Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour (1,296,000)
6. Meghan Trainor, Title (1,209,000)
7. Soundtrack, Furious 7 (971,000)
8. Maroon 5, V (966,000)
9. Nicki Minaj, The Pinkprint (825,000)
10. Fall Out Boy, American Beauty / American Psycho (813,000)
The biggest-selling song of the six months was Mark Ronson’s smash Uptown Funk (feat Bruno Mars), with 4.88m digital sales.
Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud was second with 3.45m sales.
Overall digital song sales fell 10.4% to 160m from 197m in H1 2014.Music Business Worldwide