Weekly Music Sales Report: 23 November 2011

When was the last time we saw seven releases selling over 10,000 copies each?  It’s been forever.  Then again, it is the Christmas shopping season, so we should see some big sales numbers over the next four weeks.
Overall album sales spiked up 5% (although 3% less than what we sale the same week last year).  This means year-to-date sales in Canada remain 1% ahead of 2010.  
But let’s dig a little deeper.  Sales of physical albums are still running 8% less than last year.  All the gains are in the digital realm:  digital albums are up 37% and digital tracks are up 40%.  
The big record of the week comes as no surprise.  Drake’s Take Care debuted at #1, selling a healthy 48,000 copies, making this the third-biggest debut of the year behind just Lady Gaga and Coldplay.  This is also the biggest first-week number for a Canadian act since Nickelback released Dark Horse in 2008 when it moved 60,000 units in its first week.  (Nickelback’s new album, Here and Now, was released yesterday.  Bets on the kinds of numbers we’re going to see there?)


At #2, it’s Michael Buble’s Christmas, increasing 16% over last week to 38,000 copies.  Adele–who won’t go away–is at #3.  Her 21 album has sold more than 700,000 copies in Canada.

Rihanna’s “We Found Love” is the most-downloaded digital track with 23,000 sold.

On the US side, Drake debuts at #1 with 631,000 copies of Take Care.  That’s a bit less than projected (some were predicting sales in the 675,000-700,000 range), but this hardly makes this debut a disappointment.  To put things another way, only two albums had higher debuts this year:  Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne.  And let’s not forget that Thank Me Later debuted at #1 with 447,000 copies.  Love the Drake.

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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2 thoughts on “Weekly Music Sales Report: 23 November 2011

  • So I head over to my local HMV today to pick up Chris Cornell's new live solo acoustic cd "Songbook". I head straight for the new releases section, noticing that every time I walk into HMV there are less and less cd's for sale.

    Cornell's cd is not there. Wtf?

    A 16 year old (maybe younger) clerk walks up to me asking if I need help.

    Me: Yeah, I'm looking for Chris Cornell's new cd, came out yesterday.
    Him: Crisco who??
    Me: Chris, CORNELL.
    Him: Uhhhh… (looks at the rack of new releases). What's the name again.
    Me: Chris CORNELL, Soundgarden's front man, Audioslave, huge. (wait… could it be??)
    Him: Uhhhh… what kind of music does he play.
    Me: Rock, alternative. (wow, kid has no clue who Cornell, Soundgarden and Audioslave are… I feel really old… feel like taking off but I really want that cd)

    The kid walks me over to the only other aisle where they have cds and hands over the ONLY copy they have in store.

    Not his fault, I guess. But it really made me feel old.

  • HMV is going down the tube, BigMarc. Their recent $5/$10/$15 sale promotion may as well read "everything must go". Not that I'm happy about this, because I'm certainly not.


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