Music Industry

US Albums Sales Reach New Levels of Suckage

One look at this week’s American SoundScan numbers should disabuse anyone of the notion that streaming isn’t having an effect on album sales. And I’m talking about pure physical and digital sales and none of this “track equivalent albums” nonsense.

Numbers out today show that Gucci Mane’s Everybody Looking album reached the #1 spot on the sales charts by selling less than 46,000 copies. The #2 album, Kidz Bop 32, got there by selling less than 19,000. Add up every single album in the Top 200 and you have a weekly sales total of 729,000. Not that long ago, that was a mediocre week for Adele.

If this isn’t an all-time low for record sales, it must be close.

And we can’t be smug here in Canada. Sales of digital albums have dropped by 26% so far this year while physical albums are softer by 15.6%. Vinyl is up (38%) and so are cassettes by 263%.*

*Let’s not get too excited about that number. In all of Canada, only 4,000 cassettes have been sold this year. Compare that to 324,000 vinyl albums and 6.05 million CDs.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38319 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

3 thoughts on “US Albums Sales Reach New Levels of Suckage

  • Not hard to imagine when there are so few retailers carrying physical copies. I was so disappointed when Best Buy stopped stocking CDs. It’s pretty much down to HMV & Walmart. And Walmart is one of the worst options as they frequently (literally) throw their CDs into a bargain bin that is painful to look through mind you their shelves are no better as they are not ordered alphabetically or by artist. I spent a couple hours one day at a couple stores looking for Hip CDs, frustrating. Costco carry the odd CD, mostly greatest hits or just released albums. If you are fortunate your city has a specialty music store or two that still carry CDs. I used to frequent Record Runner when I lived in Ottawa, I miss those guys. It’s getting pretty close to online only options. Sad, sad, sad.

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