July 8, 2012
Vijaya Prasad

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Not even the biggest-seller of all time can put a shine on it – the music album may be spinning its last revs per minute.

Year-to-date cross-format album unit sales dipped by 3.2 percent (U.S.) and 13.8 percent (UK), according to figures released this week by Nielsen SoundScan and British Phonographic Industry. That came despite:

  • Digital album unit sales growing 13.8 percent (U.S.) and 17.3 percent (UK).
  • Adele’s 21 turning in such large sales that it already surpassed Michael Jackson’s Thriller as the highest-selling album ever (UK).
  • A 14.2 percent upturn in vinyl album sales (U.S.).

Since the early noughties, single-track unit sales have been rejuvenated by digital technology and distribution and are now helping the music industry as a whole to overall growth. Year-to-date single sales are up 5.6 percent (U.S.) and 6.3 percent (UK).

But, for albums, it is a different story – now the atomisation of music…

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