First the good news: Ace Frehley had a top 10 album when the charts came out yesterday. Then the bad news: pretty much everything else. For the week that just ended, the 3.97 million albums sold is the lowest cumulative week since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. In fact, it’s the first time in the 23-year history of SoundScan that album have sold under 4 million in a week. An article in Billboard states that last year, 4.88 million albums were sold. It’s been slow all year, however, with only five weeks where album sales have been over five million. Album sales for the year are down 14.6%, and digital album sales are down 11.7% and track sales down 12.8%
The most obvious reason why is that people are getting used to streaming music, and not owning it. The Billboard article quotes a label exec attributing the slowdown as a result of streaming. As more people stream, it will become more of a revenue generator for artists and labels. That’s not happening yet, and the steep decline in album and single sales suggests that the industry’s being hit pretty hard. There is a bit of a silver lining for the industry, though. Another article running in Billboard today shows that streaming accounted for 63% of all music revenue in Denmark, a company that was an early adapter of streaming.