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US albums sales down in first six months of 2013

By | Published on Tuesday 23 July 2013

Nielsen SoundScan

Sales of albums in the US are down year-on-year for the first half of 2013, according to data from Nielsen Soundscan.

CD albums were responsible for much of the decline, with sales slipping 14.2% to 78.2 million. Digital album sales, meanwhile, were up 6.3% (to 60.8 million) and vinyl album sales rose 33.5% to 2.9 million, meaning the overall decline in the number of albums being shifted was 5.6% (to 142 million). Digital single track sales also saw a slight fall by 2.3% to 682.2 million, while streaming stats rose 24%, with 50.9 billion tracks being played on reporting services.

However, there is no need to get all gloomy about the dip in sales, says Nielsen Entertainment’s Senior Vice President David Bakula.

Reporting the figures, he told reporters: “Overall sales are down slightly in the first half of 2013, but there continues to be encouraging growth in digital album sales. Digital albums now comprise 43% of all album sales, up from 38% at this time last year. Also, while a small percentage of the overall album sales, vinyl LPs continue to be an amazing growth story with sales up over 33% over last year’s record-selling pace”.

He continued: “Streaming continues to be a tremendous growth story with over 50 billion audio and video streams in the first six months of 2013. Not only are we seeing massive volume of streams, but we continue to see growth on a comparable provider basis, with stream volume up 24% over the same period last year”.

The figures also showed how each major label’s market share in the albums domain has shifted since the sale of EMI, which in 2012 had 10% of the market. Unsurprisingly, Universal, having swallowed much of its former rival, has seen a marked jump, now accounting for 37.7% of US album sales, up from 28.9% this time last year. Sony Music has seen a very slight fall, from 30.41% to 38.38%, while Warner Music is up from 18.3% to 20.8%.