Incredibly low, yet odd, sales week for the record industry


Here are the stats of Billboard for this past week. Some bad, some good, some are just fascinating.

First the bad news:

  • Only 5.32 million albums were sold last week. Compare that to the 6.07m from the week previous, and the 5.89m from the comparable week in 2009.
  • Year to date sales are at 115.1m, compared to 127.9m this time last year, which is a 10% drop.
  • The worst news of the week: Justin Bieber has regained the top spot on Billboard with his insipidly tepid My World 2.0.

The good news:

  • Even though Bieber has the No. 1 album, it only moved 60,000 units. The number itself is bad news, but it’s canceled out (and summarily replaced) by the fact that Bieber is fucking trash.
  • Digital sales are up, both from last week and last year, 2% and 7%, respectively.
  • The National’s High Violet – one of the best record so of the year and, in a few years, the decade – debuted at No. 3 with 51,000. Impressive. That’s a ridiculous jump from Boxer‘s debut of No. 68 with 9,500 copies sold.

The fascinating news:

  • Bieber’s 60,000 No. 1 album is the second-lowest total in SoundScan history. The record was set in 2007 with the Dreamgirls soundtrack, which moved only 60,000. No, that’s not a typo. Here is Billboard’s explanation:

“My World 2.0” and “Dreamgirls” are both stated to have sold 60,000 in this story because Billboard rounds SoundScan’s sales figures to the nearest thousand. However, My World sold more than “Dreamgirls,” but not by much.

Well, there you have it: a overall shitty week for the music business. Even if the numbers were double what they were, it’d still be shitty ’cause Bieber has a career. Anyhow, I don’t believe that these paltry numbers have any real permanence because this past week featured no big albums. Now, if you look at June’s release calendar, you’ve got Christiana Aguilera, the Roots, Eminem,  Miley Cyrus (SHIT!) and Korn. So the industry probably just had minor setback.

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