(Hypebot) — Despite all the chatter of vinyl’s resurgence and other positive notes in the world of physical sales, the number of albums sold last year was down fairly dramatically, according to a new report from Alpha Data.
Guest post by Bobby Owsinski of Music 3.0
The year-end report from Alpha Data, the data analytics platform formerly known as BuzzAngle that powers the Rolling Stone Charts, shows that album sales continue to fall at an alarming rate. Streaming has taken its toll on the venerable format, as its sales dropped by 23% from the previous year to just 93 million.
To illustrate the point, Taylor Swift’s Lover was the best selling physical album and that reached only 1.1 million copies, a figure that could be sold in just a week during the album’s peak. Even those numbers are somewhat fudged since Lover’s sales were massively boosted by bundles, with CDs, vinyl and digital downloads offered as add-ons to T-shirts and sweatshirts.
Here are the top albums of 2019 by sales:
- Lover, Taylor Swift – 1.1 million
- When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?, Billie Eilish – 595,000
- Happiness Begins, Jonas Brothers – 484,000
- Fine Line, Harry Styles – 453,000
- A Star Is Born: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – 438,000
- BTS Map of the Soul: Persona, BTS – 382,000
- Hollywood’s Bleeding, Post Malone – 357,000
- Fear Inoculum, Tool – 344,000
- DNA, Backstreet Boys – 314,000
- thank u, next, Ariana Grande – 268,000
This is a trend that should continue since modern artists have little use for the album. Streaming has turned the industry into one of singles, and it’s more profitable and better for fan engagement to produce them more often than to wait for the typical album cycle of between one and two years.
Yet some artists still want or need to make an album, and while that’s good news for studios, engineers and producers everywhere, it doesn’t do the artist or band much good. The long time between releases contributes to severe fan attrition, and some of those fans will never come back.
Until the next format comes along that favors the need for multiple songs, music will continue to be a singles world. Better get used to it.