Album sales fall to a record low – but music revenue is going up

Rise in streaming compensates for decline in digital sales

Album sales have fallen to a record low in America – but the rise in streaming means music revenue has increased for the first six months of 2016.

Sales fell to 100.3m, a 13.6% drop compared to January-June 2015. So far, Drake’s ‘Views’ is the only album to sell over one million copies in the US.

However, the rise in streaming means music revenue overall has risen by 8.9% to £1.5 billion. A total of 209 billion songs were streamed in the first six months of 2016, a rise of 58.7%.

The biggest decline is in digital sales, down 18% to 43.8 million. Vinyl sales actually rose 11.4% to 6.2 million, with ‘Blackstar’ by David Bowie the best-selling with 57,000 copies. CD sales fell 11.6% to 40 million.

A spokesman for British music industry body BPI said that there were no figures for the equivalent period in the UK. However, their spokesman told NME that physical sales are improving, with vinyl expected to sell over three million in 2016. The decline in CD buying has also slowed down.

BPI spokesman Gennaro Castaldo said: “Music is proving as popular as ever in the UK. The increased consumption in 2015 has carried on into this year. However, the way fans listen to music is clearly evolving, with much of this change shaped by a surge in streaming as people shift from downloads.”