Here’s an interesting statistic from Paul Grein from Yahoo Chart Watch:
The albums on The Billboard 200 this week accounted for 1,682,000 in sales. […] Sales of all “current” albums (those charted and those that didn’t chart) totalled 2,734,000 this week. The other 2,429,000 albums sold this week were catalog. (Those two figures add up to 5,163,000.)
It’s interesting enough that catalog sales represent almost half of total sales for the week. But even more fascinating is what a small percentage of total album sales the Top 200 represents: only about one-third of all album sales for the week. Two-thirds of the week’s album sales are outside of the Top 200.
Even looking at the “current” releases, that leaves 1.1 million current albums outside of the Top 200, or about two-fifths of total sales of current music. That’s a big chunk of low-sellers!
Ever wonder how many albums you have to sell to get on the Billboard 200 chart? For once, we know for sure: 2,809. That number was revealed in an article congratulating the Melvins on cracking “the U.S. pop album chart for the first time in its 26-year career.” Therefore we know that 3,481,000 of the albums sales racked up last week were for albums that sold fewer than 2,809 copies.
That’s the definition of the Long Tail, isn’t it?