Music Industry

UPDATE: This Could be the Worst Week EVER for Album Sales in the US

Music sales suck. With more people moving to streaming music services, fewer people than ever are buying physical product (CDs, vinyl) and digital files (think iTunes). The biggest problem, though, is that there have been almost zero big-name releases so far in 2016. The release schedule has been abysmal.

We’ll find out for sure tomorrow, but it’s quite possible that no single album will break the 50,000 copy mark on the Billboard Top 200 chart. Early indications are that total sales of the entire Top 10 will barely break through 250,000.

At this point, Hymns by Joey + Rory looks to finish at #1–and that’s largely due to the fact that Joey Feek died last week. Best case scenario has the album selling about 44,000 units, followed by Adele’s 25 with around 42,000. And the lower you go, the worse it gets.

Green Day’s American Idiot–an album released in 2004–looks to end the week at #13 selling 15,000 copies.

UPDATE 1: The US SoundScan charts are out and the predictions were pretty much bang-on. Joey + Rory finished at #1 with a measly 44,000 albums sold. Let that sink in a little. The best-selling album of the week in the biggest music market in the world is at #1 by selling just 44,000 units.

And if you total up sales of all the albums in the Top 200, you come up with 3.18 million. That’s it. Remember that when Adele’s 25 came out back in November, it sold 3.8 million copies itself in a week.

UPDATE 2: Canadian stats put sales 20% lower than at this time last year. CDs are down by almost 15% and digital albums have fallen by 27.3%. And as an interesting aside, Albertans have bought 28% less music this year over last.


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.

Alan Cross has 38542 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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