US music purchases exceed 1.5 billion; 10% growth in 08


MUMBAI: Nielsen SoundScan, Nielsen BDS and Nielsen RingScan have announced their 2008 US year-end sales and performance monitoring data for the 52-week period 31 December, 2007 through 28 December, 2008.

Music purchases in 2008 reached 1.5 billion, marking the fourth consecutive year music sales have exceeded one billion (1.4 billion in 2007, 1.2 billion in 2006 and 1 billion in 2005). Music sales exceeded 65 million in the final week of 2008, representing the biggest sales week in the history of Nielsen SoundScan. The previous record was Christmas week 2007 with 58.4 million music purchases.  

Overall album sales (including albums and track equivalent album sales) declined 8.5 per cent compared to 2007, whereas the total album sales declined 14 per cent compared to 2007. Metallica’s Death Magnetic has been the best selling Internet album for the year with 144,000 sales. During 2008, more Vinyl Albums were purchased (1.88 million) than any other year in the history of Nielsen SoundScan. The previous record was in 2000, with 1.5 million LP album sales.

On the digital front, digital track sales break the one billion sales mark for the first time with more than 1,070,000 digital track sales. The previous record was 844 million digital track purchases during 2007; an increase of 27 per cent over 2007.

Digital Album sales reached an all-time high with more than 65 million sales in 2008; up from 50 million in 2007; an increase of 32 per cent over the previous year. Digital album sales accounted for 15 per cent of total album sales compared to 10 per cent in 2007 and 5.5 per cent in 2006.  

In the final reporting week of 2008 the following digital sales records were broken:

1) Digital Track sales surpassed 47.7 million. The previous sales record was 42.9 million, week of 23 – 30 December, 2007.

2) Digital Album sales this week broke the two million mark for the first time with sales of 2.4 million sales; breaking the previous record of 1.9 million (20 December, 2007).

3) The top 200 digital songs for the week posted an all-time high with 13.6 million sales; breaking the previous record of 11.9 million during the last week of 2007.

4) The first time that the Top 5 digital songs (combining all versions of the same song) sold more than 300,000 downloads in a week with Lady Gaga’s Just Dance selling 419,000. The record for most downloads for a digital song in one week continues to be Flo Rida’s Low with sales of 467,000 set during the last week of 2007.

Moreover, 2008 is the first time a digital song broke the three million sales mark in a single year. There were two songs that achieved this milestone; Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love and Lil Wayne’s Lollipop; with sales of 3.4 and 3.2 million respectively.  

In 2008, there are 19 different digital songs with sales that exceeded 2 million compared to nine in 2007 and 71 digital songs exceeded the one million sales mark for the year compared to 41 digital songs in 2007, 22 in 2006, and only two digital songs in 2005.  

Rihanna is the biggest selling digital artist in 2008 with nearly 10 million track sales compared to Fergie who had 7.5 million track sales in 2007.  

There are more than 450,000 different physical albums that sold at least one copy over the Internet during 2008 compared to 390,000 in 2007.  

Best Sellers:

Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III is the biggest selling album of the year with 2.8 million sales.  

Taylor Swift is the biggest selling solo artist, with sales greater than 4.0 million albums and AC/DC is the biggest selling group in 2008 with sales of 3.4 million.  

Holiday Season Factoids: (last six weeks of year).

Overall Album sales during the 2008 holiday season were down 19 per cent compared to 2007, with sales of just over 80 million.

Album sales during the holiday season accounted for 19 per cent of all album sales for the year.

Digital Album sales during the holiday season experienced significant growth over 2007 with an increase of 37 per cent to 9.9 million sales.

RingScan Factoids:

During the last week of the year, ring tone purchases increased by 15 per cent compared to the previous week. Mastertone purchases account for 95 per cent of all ring tone sales in 2008; up from 91 per cent in 2007. The top 100 Mastertone ringers sold 43.8 million, accounting for 26 per cent of all ring tone sales for the year; down from 30 per cent in 2007.