Overall Music Purchases Grow Over 10% in 2008, but Holiday and Album Sales Drop

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Videos by American Songwriter

There’s some good news and some bad news regarding the state of the music industry, according to Nielsen SoundScan, who released their yearly figures for 2008 point-of-sale music purchases.

There’s some good news and some bad news regarding the state of the music industry, according to Nielsen SoundScan, who released their yearly figures for 2008 point-of-sale music purchases.

The numbers, released on New Year’s Eve, indicate that overall music purchases increased more than 10 percent as individual sales jumped from 1.37 billion in 2007 to just over 1.5 billion in 2008. These sales include all album, singles, music video and digital tracks purchased. And while 2008 saw some big numbers from Taylor Swift, AC/DC and Lil’ Wayne (the year’s top three selling artists), the total number of digital and tangible albums sold dropped 14 percent to about 428 million. Also troubling, total albums sold during the holiday period of November 17 – December 28 dropped 19 percent from almost 99 million in 2007 to just about 80 million in 2008.

Sales of digital singles and albums continued to take a bigger piece of the pie in 2008 as they increased by 27 percent and 32 percent respectively. Digital track sales exceeded 1 billion for the first time and digital albums hit 65 million to bring in its largest yearly total ever. Yet, vinyl proved to be the greatest gainer as LP sales almost doubled to jump 89 percent in 2008. Radiohead’s In Rainbows, the Beatles’ Abbey Road and Guns ‘N Roses’ Chinese Democracy were the highest selling vinyl albums of the year.


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