If you follow my weekly music sales reports, you’ll know that year-to-date album sales are very soft, especially in the US where the numbers trail 2013 by 15% and CDs are down 20%. And while you’d expect rock, pop, hip-hop and even country fans to gravitate more towards digital sales and streaming services, you probably think that aficionados of classic music would continue to acquire their music on CD or vinyl. Better sound, you know?
Well, think again.
The top-selling classic recording in the US last week was Amour and Attrition by Casey Cesczendo (who may or may not be a bona fide classical performer in the eyes of purists) with 1,789 units. The next two biggest-selling records (which sold 253 and 173 copies) are from singing nuns. That’s about it.
As classical site Slipped Disc points out, any statistician will say the sales figures like this in a market as big as the United States should be rounded off to zero.
But it may not be quite that bad. SoundScan doesn’t count the sale of used records and I’d imagine there are plenty of retail outlets selling classical music that aren’t part of the SoundScan system. Still…