Annual music album sales in the United States dropped by 18.7 percent between 2018 and 2019, amounting to just 112.75 million in the most recent year. In 2013, sales amounted to 289.4 million units, a number which had already noticeably decreased from the 331 million units sold in 2011.
Annual music album sales - additional information
The past decade has brought along many changes, both technological and societal, which have forever changed the face of the global music industry. Today, music superstars, such as Beyonce, who was the highest paid musician in the United States in 2016, have money, coverage in all possible mediums, and power like never before. However, as of 2015, the worldwide revenue generated by the music business stood at 16.1 billion U.S. dollars, some nine billion less than in 2002.
It seems that the internet, the magical tool that is responsible for the creation of so many music celebrities, might also be responsible for the dismal statistics surrounding the sale of music albums in the United States, once the main revenue stream in the business. As the data shows, annual music album sales in the United States have plummeted from 500 million units sold in 2007 to under 170 million units sold in 2017. At the same time, digital music revenues, especially from album and single downloads, as well as subscription and streaming services, have been steadily growing in the past years. The fall in record sales is attributed to the rise of illegal music downloading, but also to legal services, which provide music products without the additional costs of production and shipping.
Despite changes in the way Americans acquire music, U.S. consumers still enjoy and value music industry products. Recent studies show that more consumers are choosing to use a legal alternative to file sharing, mainly digital music streaming services, such as online radio services like Pandora and Spotify. Additionally, musicians reorient themselves from album sales towards live performances and business deals to boost their incomes. As of 2017, the sales revenue from concert tickets in North America was at an all-time high, with revenue hit eight billion U.S. dollars for the first time.
Music album sales in the United States from 2007 to 2019
(in million units)
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Billboard. (January 9, 2020). Music album sales in the United States from 2007 to 2019 (in million units) [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved August 04, 2020, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/273308/music-album-sales-in-the-us/
Billboard. "Music album sales in the United States from 2007 to 2019 (in million units)." Chart. January 9, 2020. Statista. Accessed August 04, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/273308/music-album-sales-in-the-us/
Billboard. (2020). Music album sales in the United States from 2007 to 2019 (in million units). Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: August 04, 2020. https://www.statista.com/statistics/273308/music-album-sales-in-the-us/
Billboard. "Music Album Sales in The United States from 2007 to 2019 (in Million Units)." Statista, Statista Inc., 9 Jan 2020, https://www.statista.com/statistics/273308/music-album-sales-in-the-us/
Billboard, Music album sales in the United States from 2007 to 2019 (in million units) Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/273308/music-album-sales-in-the-us/ (last visited August 04, 2020)