Music Industry

Published on November 19th, 2014 | by Alan Cross

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Weekly Music Sales Report and Analysis: 19 November 2014

It was a big week for music sales. But was it big enough.

First, to Canada. There are five new albums in the Top 10, providing a nice boost over last week (+15%) but the market is still down 6% from 2013. CD sales are down 6% while digital albums are down 8% and digital tracks are at -13% for the year.

Thanks to strong sales in Quebec–they’re big prog fans–Endless River from Pink Floyd finished the week at #1 with sales of 31,000 units. It’s their first chart-topper in the Soundscan era (i.e. after 1991).  Floyd pushed Taylor Swift down to #2, but 1989 still sold 27,000 copies, pushing its three-week total to 170,000 units. Another 30,000 copies and it’ll pass the Frozen soundtrack as the biggest selling album of the year.

And the Foo Fighters? Sonic Highways pulls in at #3 with a solid 25,000 copies (it’s #1 on the Digital Albums chart), making it the highest first-week sales for a Foos record since In Your Honor sold 33,000 copies in week one back in 2005.

The other debuts involve Man Against Machine from Garth Brooks (#4 with a surprisingly low 8,500 copies) and My Favourite Faded Fantasy from Damien Rice finishing at #8 with 4,000 units.

The biggest digital single in the country is “Blank Space” from Taylor Swift, moving 24,000 downloads.

Over the US, Taylor Swift was able to hold off both the Foo Fighters and Pink Floyd to stay at #1 for the third straight week selling 312,000 copies of 1989, bring the albums sales total to about 2 million. The Foos came in second with 190,000 copies of Sonic Highways followed by Pink Floyd at #3 with 170,000. Garth Brooks is fourth with 130,000 units. The Top 3 will be reordered next week because One Direction’s Four will probably sell in the range of 400,000.

The big song on the digital tracks chart is Taylor Swift and “Blank Space” with 328,000 downloads.

Overall album sales totaled 5.38 million units, which isn’t bad (it”s about the same total as this week last year) but year-to-date album sales are down 13 percent.  Digital tracks  are also down 13 percent compared to last year.

And get this: four songs were streamed more than ten million times this week:  Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” (19.2 million streams). Meghan Trainors “All About That Bass” (11.9 million),  Taylor Swift again with “Shake It Off”(10.9 million) and Bobby Shmurda’s “Hot Boy” (10.7 million).

There may be some big changes to the charts in the coming weeks when the Billboard 200 starts to include streams and track sales. That first revamped chart will be published December 3.

All figures courtesy Nielsen Soundscan

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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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