Music Industry

Published on January 9th, 2018 | by Alan Cross


Physical Album Sales Off to a Poor Start in 2018

The last chart week straddled the end of 2017 and the first four days of 2018. Here’s how the numbers look for Canada.

  • Total albums: -26.8% compared to this time last year.
  • Physical albums: -35.6%
  • CDs: -37.3%
  • Digital albums: -15.6%
  • Digital tracks: -18.5%
  • Vinyl: -16.9% (yes, a decline)
  • Streaming: +62%

South of the border, things are off to a poor start when it comes to selling physical music product in America. According to SoundScan, The Greatest Showman soundtrack is the #1 album, selling just under 78,000 copies. After that, though, the numbers are dismal.

2. Ed Sheeran, Divide, 22,400 units (Total physical sales: 1.24 million)

3. Taylor Swift, Reputation, 22,200 units (1.925 million)

4. Eminem, Revival, 21,300 (275,000)

5. Imagine Dragons, Evolve, 14,200 (430,000)

6. Pitch Perfect 3 Soundtrack, 13,000 (49,000)

7. Chris Stapleton, From a Room: Volume 3, 12,270 (243,000)

8. Kendrick Lamar, Damn, 12,000 (922,000)

9. Sam Sam, The Thrill of It All, 11,000 (412,00)

10. Alan Jackson, Precious Memories Collection, 10,400 (151,000)

If you add up sales of the entire Top 200, the figure is 595,000. Sure, a lot of this reflects post-Christmas fatigue and a lack of new releases. But if you scroll right to the bottom of the list, you’ll see that it’s possible to make the US Top 200 by selling just 684 records. In the whole country.

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About the Author

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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