It’s Been a Bad Year for Album Sales in America: Down 4% in Six Months

Now that we’re past June 30, we can take a look back at the first six months of the year to see how the music industry has been fairing. The answer: not well, at least in America.  Here are some top line figures.

  • Album sales: Down 4%. Bad, but not unexpected given labels’ propensity to load all their big releases into the last two quarters of the year. If you want raw numbers, 120.1 million units were shipped in the first half of 2014; this year, that number was 116.1 million.
  • Streaming: Up. Way up. Ninety-two percent, actually.  We’re talking 135.2 billion streams.
  • CD sales: Down 10% to just 56.6 million. Everything else was either a digital download or vinyl. Parsing further, this means that for the first time ever (I think) the CD accounted for less than 50% of album sales. (It’s 49%, if you want accuracy.)
  • Digital album sales: Down a little less than 1% to 53.7 million, accounting for 46% of all sales.
  • The best-selling album of the first half of 2015 in the US? Taylor Swift and 1989 with 1.33 million units.

More at Music Business Worldwide.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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