Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis: May 14, 2014

Last week, I talked to a lot of record guys at Canadian Music Week and most of them had the same lament:  “All our bloody records are coming out in Q4! No wonder sales stink.”

It’s true.  This has been an ugly couple of quarters for big-name releases.  No wonder Coldplay has decided to drop their album at the end of the month.  They’ll have all the attention to themselves.

As of this week, Canadian album sales are down 8% year-over-year with the CD disaster leading the way (down 8%) and helped by a decline in digital album sales (also down 8% from 2013).  Digital tracks are soft by 12% from last year.  (Watch that number to get bigger as more people discover streaming music services.)

Three albums debuted in the Top 5 this week. Sarah McLachlan’s Shine On had a nice start with a #1 debut and sales of 11,500.  Storyline from Huner Hayes pulled up in second spot with 5,600.  The other debut was Little Secret, the jazzy album by Nikki Yanofsky, with sales of 4,800.  (Sidebar: I saw her perform at an industry event last week and she had the tightest backing band I’d seen in years. WOW.)

The biggest download in Canada still belongs to John Legend with “All of Me”–yet it failed to sell more than 20,000 copies.  That’s the first time a song on the Digital Songs chart has sold that little since “Some Nights” by fun. back in August 2012.

On the American side of the ledger, year-to-date album sales are down 16% with CDs down a full 20% from this time in 2013.  Digital albums are soft by 13% and digital tracks are down 12%.

The Now 50 collection is the new #1 in the US with 153,000 copies.  The next highest debut comes from Hunter Hayes (#3, 69,000) followed by Sarah McLachlan (#4, 42,000) and Tech N9ne Collabos’ Strangulation (#5, 36,000).

The biggest single is “Problem” from Ariana Grande with 235,000 downloads.  Finally, the most-streamed song of the week is that bloody “Happy” song–ENOUGH!–with 8,383,988 streams.

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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