Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis: 28 August 2014

Here’s the major headline for this week: “Album Sales Hit A New Low.” Since SoundScan was brought in as the standard for tracking album sales in 1991, there has never, ever been a week where so few albums have been sold. In a nation of over 310 million people, only 3.97 million records were sold this past week. That is hideous. But more on that in a moment.

Here in Canada, things aren’t nearly as bad.  Overall album sales in Canada are 7% soft from 2013, dragged lower by a 5% drop in CD sales. Digital sales are down 7% from 2013 while digital tracks are down by 13%.

There are four debuts in the Top 10 this week with Wiz Khalifa’s Blacc Hollywood entering the charts at #1 with a mere 5,300 copies, the second-lowest sales total for a #1 record this year. Ugh.

Bahamas’ Bahamas is Afie starts life at #4 with 2,800 copies, followed by that countrified Motley Crue tribute record, Nashville Outlaws, at #6 (2,700 copies) and Chase Rice’s Ignite the Night at #7 (2,600).  And as for the biggest download in the country, it’s–no surprise–“Shake It Off” from Taylor Swift with sales of 48,000.

Now to America where, as we’ve already seen, things suck at historical velocities. Year over over, overall album sales are down 15% with physical CD sales dropping by 19%. Then there’s digital albums at -12% and digital tracks at -13%.

Wiz Khalifa has the #1 album in the US with just 90,000 copies with Chase Rice pulling up at #3 with 44,000 units. That Motley Crue tribute album debuts at #5 (31,000 copies) followed by the debut of Ace Frehley’s Space Invader at #9 with 19,000 copies.

You read that right: a Top 10 debut album in America with sales of just 19,000 copies.

The brightest spot is the download number of that new Taylor Swift single with sales of 544,000. That’s the biggest weekly sales total for a digital track all year and the fourth largest of all time.  And come to think of it, the streaming number for Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” with 32,121,520 listens.

All numbers 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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