2011 Music Sales Numbers – Better Than We Expected!

The SoundScan and Billboard numbers are in, and I’m happy to report that 2011 was an overall good year for the recorded music industry. Rock is up 2%, Electronic/Dance is up 15% (no doubt fueled by the Americanized Dubstep craze), and Jazz is up a whopping 26%! Sales figures also show that Sony and Universal together commanded nearly 60% of the market in 2011. I must say that I happy to see Rock on the rise, and equally as happy to see R&B and Country on the decline. Rock was on the decline for years because of the same homogenization that is now affecting R&B & Country.

I want to share my source with you – a newsletter that I subscribe to from one Keith Holzman, author of several music business books and a skilled management consultant. This is great stuff! You can subscribe to his informative monthly newsletters by sending a blank message to joinsolutionsunltd@mh.databack.com. The follow is an excerpt from the January 2012 edition.

As we give a wholehearted welcome to 2012, let’s take a quick look at the “numbers” for last year as derived from Billboard and SoundScan.

2011 wasn’t at all bad. In fact the year saw a gain in total U.S. music sales of 6.9 percent — 1.6 billion units last year against 1.51 billion in 2010. This is the first year-over-year gain since 2004!

US Album Sales were up 1.3 percent to 330.6 million units, Digital Track Sales were up 8.5 percent to 1.27 billion, Track Albums plus Track Equivalent Albums were up 3.2 percent to 457.7 million.

Digital Albums were up 19.5 percent to 103.1 million units, but sales of CDs, bless them, were unfortunately down 5.7 percent to 223.5 units.

Catalog sales were up 9 percent to 151.2 million, but Current Albums were off 4 percent at 122.65 million.

There was also a slight increase in the quantity of New Releases — up 2.2 percent to 76,875. 13 albums each sold 1 million or more as did 112 individual tracks.

Rock — up 1.9 percent at 105.7 million units.
R&B — down 4.2 percent to 55.4 million
Country — down 1.8 percent to 42.9 million
Latin — down 4.3 percent to 118 million
Christian/Gospel — down 2.0 percent to 23.7 million
Rap (included in R&B) — up 3.3 percent to 28.3 million
Jazz — up 26.1 percent to 11.1 million
Electronic/Dance — up 15 percent to 10 million

Overall Market Share for 2011:
Universal Music Group — 29.9 percent
Sony Corp — 29.3
Warner Music Group — 19.1
EMI Group — 9.6
Indies — 12.1

All told, not a bad year, and at least there were a few gains that really mattered. Now if we can just stem the loss in CD sales during 2012, a lot of us will be happier.

Until next time,
Keith Holzman — Solutions Unlimited
Helping Record Labels Manage for Success.

Copyright 2012 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.


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