CD Sales Continue Free Fall in 2009

Another year, another collapse in CD sales.

For the eighth time in nine years, U.S. album sales declined. That’s according to data compiled by Nielsen SoundScan.

Album sales fell to fell to 373.9 million units, a 12.7% decline from 2008. Total sales fell a whopping 52% since 2000. CDs still account for almost 80 percent of all album purchases.

Paid online song downloads continued to grow, but at a pace that was too slow to make up for lost CD sales.

1.16 billion individual songs were purchased digitally, an increase of 89 million units, or 8.3%, from 2008. That represents a significant slowdown in digital-sales growth. In 2008, sales of digital songs increased by 226 million, or 27% over the previous year. Digital downloads now account for 40% of music purchases.

For the Year:

• Taylor Swift’s  “Fearless” released in November 2008, sold 3.2 million copies in 2009 (total sales = 5.3 million copies.)
• Susan Boyle’s “I Dreamed a Dream,” which came out only six weeks ago, sold 3.1 million.
• Michael Jackson’s “Number Ones” was No. 3 for the year, with 2.4 million sales; Lady Gaga’s “The Fame” by  is No. 4, with 2.2 million in 2009; Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas,” was No. 5, with 2.2 million

For the Decade:

• The best-selling artist of the 2000s was Eminem, selling 32.2 million albums;
• The Beatles’ were a close second, selling 30.2 million albums;
• Tim McGraw was the third-best-selling artist of the 2000s, with a total of 24.8 million; Toby Keith was 4th at ~24 million; and Britney Spears was No. 5, at just under 23 million.


Albums by Swift and Boyle Top 2009 Charts, as Sales Continue Plunge
NYT, January 6, 2010

U.S. Album Sales Fell by 13% During 2009
WSJ, JANUARY 7, 2010

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