American album sales hit lowest weekly total since records began

A total of 3.97million albums were sold in the US last week

Weekly album sales in the US have this week plummeted to their lowest since Nielson SoundScan began tracking data in 1991, reports Billboard.

A total of 3.97million albums were sold in the US last week, which is the lowest weekly sum since records began in 1991. It’s also the first time weekly sales have dropped below four million. The chart-topping album, ‘Blacc Hollywood’ by Wiz Khalifa (pictured), sold 90,000 in its first week.

In the same week last year, 4.88million albums were sold. The dip is representative of a wider trend: average weekly sales in the first quarter were 4.75million units, followed by 4.55million in the second quarter and 4.2million in the first eight weeks of the third quarter. Overall, US album sales are down 14.6 per cent on last year.


An unnamed record label sales executive talking to Billboard attributed the fall to the growth of streaming: “Sales have been going in the wrong direction all year. I guess its overdue, when you look at [the growth of streaming].”

There has been the odd glimmer of light. In June, Jack White broke the US first-week vinyl sales record with his new album ‘Lazaretto’. The ‘Ultra’ LP vinyl version of his second solo album scored the biggest week of total sales since Soundscan began tracking sales data in 1991, selling 40,000 copies since its release last week.

Global sales of music fell in 2013, due largely to a slump in sales in Japan. Figures by global record industry body IFPI showed a fall in sales of 3.9 per cent, with $15 billion (£9 billion) spent on music over the course of last year. However, sales in Japan – the fifth largest market for record sales worldwide – fell by 16.7%. It contrasts with 2012 when global sales rose – by 0.3% – for the first time since 1999.


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