[This was my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca – AC]
At some point, we really, really need to admit that album sales charts just don’t matter. No one is buying physical products anymore.
Compared to this point last year, CD sales are down by over 30 per cent.
Take this past week’s Canadian SoundScan charts, the ranking of physical sales of albums, both CD and vinyl, across the country. The best-selling album across the entire nation was Rewind, Replay, Rebound, from a rock band from Denmark. All they had to do to achieve that vaunted No. 1 status was to sell 2,551 albums. In the whole country.
It gets worse the further down the chart you go. Country singer Tyler Childers snuck into the top 10 by moving 602 units of his new album, Country Squire. And to make it into the top 200 of the best-selling albums in Canada last week, all you had to do was sell 47 copies. Congrats to Corey Hart for squeaking onto the chart by selling less than four dozen copies of Dreaming Time Again. Again, that’s across a nation of 37 million souls.
It’s just as bad in the U.S., comparatively speaking. Childers finished first by less than 150 units over the soundtrack for Descendents 3. Total sales: 23,962 copies, spread out over 320 million people.
Even Billboard, long the Bible of music industry metrics, realizes that winners and losers can no longer be determined by looking just at sales. While the company still uses sales and radio airplay in compiling the weekly charts, more weight is given to streaming numbers, which are factored in by using a formula known as TEAs (Track Equivalent Albums).
But old habits die hard.
Keep reading. Meanwhile, here’s me on Global News Radio AM 640 talking about things.