I usually keep an eye on Billboard‘s Chart Beat, but I must have missed it a few weeks ago because the week ending July 13 set a new record for the fewest overall album sales with just 4.05 million. Things are rough for the album:
Weekly album sales volume has been below 5 million for the past 12 consecutive weeks. The 5 million mark has only been surpassed in five weeks this year. To compare, a year ago at this point, there were 21 weeks where sales were above 5 million. Weekly volume didn’t fall below 5 million in the SoundScan era until 2010, when, in the week ending May 30, album sales dropped to 4.98 million.
We remember that.
Sales have bounced back a little in the weeks following the new record low, but now they have gone back down to 4.1 million for the week ending August 17. I wonder if 2014 will see them dip below 4 million for the first time ever.
Do streaming services offer “album play” data? Not that anybody streams entire albums, but if they do I suppose it should be counted. Or maybe not.