Naturally, at this time most all eyes are on 2014. Or as we say, “Out with the old and in with the new.”
But before we completely close the book and shut the door on 2013, let’s take a brief music industry performance review from Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS and provide readers with some Industry Cocktail Sales Chatter; 2013’s Final Wrap.
(For A Decade of Country Album Sales, click here.)
According to BDS which tracks music streams as reported from a wide group of sources including Spotify, Slacker, Cricket, Rhapsody, YouTube and others, streams increased to 118.1 billion last year, up 32%. Included in that number was a remarkable 102% jump in on-demand audio streaming. Nielsen estimates those streams to be the equivalent of 59 million album purchases. (Formula: 2,000 streams=1 album=$7.50. A blended per stream rate of $00375.)
Overall album sales (289.4 million units, physical and digital) were off 8% and country fell even harder, -10.7% (39.89 million). Lumping in tracks (10 tracks= 1 album) also known as Track Equivalent Albums or TEA, made little improvement showing the overall industry down 7.7%.
Looking at album sales by genre, Classical (+4.9%) had the best showing and Jazz (-18.6%) was lowest. Rap (2.2%) and R&B (1.2%) were the only other genres to show gains. Country’s market share of all album sales (13.8%) was still impressive this year, down only slightly from last year’s 14.1%.
Overall, digital tracks were down 5.7%. Country fared slightly better, but was unable to climb out of negative territory, finding its track sales off 1.8%.
Florida Georgia Line’s “Cruise” became the best selling country digital song of all time with 6.33 million downloads placing it ahead of Lady Antebellum “Need You Now” (6.27 million); Taylor Swift “Love Story” (5.66 million); Band Perry “If I Die Young” (4.74 million); and Taylor Swift “You Belong” (4.41 million).
Standout Tracks and Albums
Country music was absent from the 2013 Top 10 Most Streamed Songs and Top 10 Most Played Songs on U.S. Radio lists. Breaking out radio play by format country’s top three songs were Darius Rucker “Wagon Wheel” (195k detections); Lady Antebellum “Downtown” (188k); and Miranda Lambert “Mama’s Broken Heart” (185k).
Top 10 Best Selling Artists of the SoundScan Era (from 1991-2013) finds Nashville’s hit-makers well represented. Garth Brooks at No. 1 (69.424 million units); George Strait at No. 6 (44.781 million); Tim McGraw No. 8 (41.844); and Alan Jackson No. 9 (40.361 million). Album sales have fallen a great deal from a decade ago making it hard for today’s artists to successfully gain a Top 10 spot on this list.
On the list for Top Selling Digital Albums of the SoundScan era, country music was solely represented by Taylor Swift’s Red at No. 6 with sales of over 1.135 million digital units. At No. 1 is Adele 21 with 3.009 million units.
So there you are—brief as promised and hopefully full of factoids that will put a radiant smile on your Facebook selfie shot at the next industry event after you impressed someone special with your industry knowledge! Being topical, analytical and witty is an awesome threesome for industry event conversation!
Perhaps as important as the 2013 results are the questions looming for the coming year. For example, is streaming directly responsible for declining digital and physical music sales? What trends will we see intensify for 2014? What will happen to terrestrial radio listenership as the number of Internet friendly auto dashboards grows? Will we see a country artist echo Beyonce’s recent success and launch new music solely using social media?
Have some other good questions? Please post them below….