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Album Sales In 2016 Are The Worst They’ve Ever Been

Written by Sam Murphy on July 7, 2016

Album sales in the US have dropped 16.9 per cent in the first half of this year, marking the worst result since they started tracking sales in 1991.

Billboard is reporting that there have been 100.3 million albums sold this year with 50 million of those physical CDs. Digital sales make up 43.8 million but that is down from 53.7 million recorded in the first half of last year. Vinyl is the winner in these latest stats growing 11.4 per cent to 6.2 million.

It’s actually new albums which have taken the biggest hit falling 20.2 per cent to make up less than 45 per cent of all album sales nationally.

Despite this, it’s not bad news for the music industry nor does it mean that nobody is listening to music. Rather it demonstrates a shift in the way people are consuming music.

Streaming has increased by 58.7 per cent to 208 billion songs. Of that, 113.6 billion were audio-only, while the remainder were video streams. It’s the first time audio has ever surpassed video. Billboard estimates that the revenue from streaming is equal to $0.0063 per song.

Total album consumption is actually even up 8.9 per cent which means despite falling sales, there are still plenty of people listening to records.

Of the albums released this year, Drake‘s VIEWS and Beyoncé‘s Lemonade are the big winners. Both these records were exclusive to streaming services for a period on Apple Music and TIDAL respectively.

VIEWS has been consumed 2.61 million times with 1.3 million of those actual album sales. Meanwhile, Lemonade has sold 1.2 million copies.

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