Physical album shipments in the U.S. from 1999 to 2019

In 2019, a total of 46.5 million physical CDs were shipped in the United States. This figure marks the lowest total in decades – physical CD shipments have nearly halved over the past two years. More than 900 million CDs were shipped in the United States in 2000, but the product has experienced a large decline in popularity in each year since.

Physical music sales

Seen as the successor to vinyl records and cassette tapes, compact discs or CDs were one of the most popular prerecorded music formats for much of the 1990s and early 2000s. Competition, first in the form of digital music formats and then streaming, has led to a massive decline in total album sales, with the CD format being hit particularly hard. As of 2019, only 37 percent of people stated that they had used physical music such as CDs within the past year. Today, music streaming revenue accounts for around 75 percent of total industry revenue partially thanks to the ability of these platforms to provide users with instant access to an endless online library of music which can be enjoyed via any device at any time. While most physical album sales have suffered, vinyl albums have experienced a resurgence in recent years. The format’s total sales figures increased significantly in each year since 2010.

Physical CD shipments in the United States from 1999 to 2019

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Sources

Release date

February 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1999 to 2019

Special properties

includes only CDs / net shipments after returns

Supplementary notes

The figures from 2016 onwards include both CD albums and CD singles.

Figures for the period 1999 to 2018 were taken from RIAA's earlier publications.

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Statistics on "Music industry in the U.S."

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