It’s hard to believe that it’s happened so few times, but this week digital album sales beat physical CD sales for only the fourth time in history. You’ll read more about what sold later today in Metal by Numbers (spoiler alert, congrats Within Temptation!), but for the week ending February 2, a total of 22.99 million albums were sold. Of that, 11.18 million were downloads, and 11.10 million were CD’s, Billboard reports. They add that another 710,000 were vinyl and other physical configurations, including cassettes. And while it’s puzzling that physical CDs have continued to outsell physical ones, it seems like that 2014 might be the year that digital finally overtakes physical for good, since of those four times total, two of the other times were in 2014 as well.
It should be worth noting that digital has been beating physical since 2011 when you factor in “track equivalent album” sales, in which 10 downloads of one song is equivalent to an album. But without that, it’s only happened during the first week of 2013, the week ending Feb. 2nd, and two more times in January. And vinyl continues to impress. If you add vinyl, cassettes and DVD albums, physical is still beating digital in 2014, 51.38% to 48.62%. Vinyl has accounted for almost 3% of all album sales so far this year.