Weekly Music Sales Report – 20 March 2012

I won’t bury the big news:  Bowie still doesn’t have an #1 album in America.  Shit.  

In Canada, year-to-date music sales are now down 3% compared to last year, but that’s probably more due to the fact that there haven’t been any super high-profile releases yet this year.  In fact, Q1 has been kind of quiet. Hopefully things will pick up.

And yes, digital album sales are ahead by 22% and digital tracks are up 10%, but that isn’t enough to counteract the 17% drop in CD sales from 2012.  

For a while, it looked like David Bowie’s The Next Day was going to challenge Bon Jovi’s What About Now for the top spot, but when all the Jovi-lovin’ MILFs hit the stores on the weekend, the Jersey boys pulled ahead to finish at #1.  What About Now sold 17,000 units, compared to 14,000 for Bowie.  Still, this is Bowie’s best first-week showing on the Canadian charts in the Soundscar era.  That counts for something.

In third spot is the Sound City – Real to Reel soundtrack–Dave Grohl’s project–with first-week sales of 6,000 copies.

Canada’s biggest download is still “Stay” from Rihanna with sales of 30,000 copies.

In the US, year-to-date sales are now down 7% caused by a 18% fall in physical CD sales and a drop of 3% in digital track sales.  Only digital albums are up, and even then by only 9%.

It’s a win for the MILFs in America, too, with Bon Jovi debuting at #1 with 96,000 units.  Bowie comes second with 85,000 copies. Dave Grohl’s soundtrack bows at #8.

Macklemore and Ryan Lewis are still the top download with “Thrift Shop” with 270,000 sold.  This is the tenth week in a row that the track has been at #1.

The biggest streaming track in America–a stat not yet released in Canada–is also “Thrift Shop” with 907,962 listens.

All figures courtesy Nielsen Soundscan.


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.

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