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Holiday Season Music Sales Down From Last Year

December 28, 2012 | Posted by Joseph Lee

Billboard reports that 2012’s holiday music sales were down from last year thanks to now huge selling albums like Adele’s 21 or Michael Buble’s Christmas.

Sales were down 10% for weeks 46-51 (November 18 – December 23) of this calendar year compared to last year, down to 54.9 million against the 61 million last year. Digital album sales were up 5.3% to 15 million from 14.2 million last year and CD sales were down 15.4% from 39 million from 46.1 million last year. Part of the reason for this is that last year’s week 51 included Christmas Eve while this year did not. It should produce a larger 52nd week than last year, but it won’t make up for lower sales.

Last year had weekly sales of over 200,000 units 12 different times during the holiday thanks to albums like Drake’s Take Care, Michael Buble’s Christmas, Nickelback’s Here And Now, the Black Keys’ El Camino, Adele’s 21, Young Jeezy’s TM 103: Hustler Ambition and Justin Bieber’s Under The Mistletoe. This included three weeks of the Buble album selling over 400,000 units and one week where Drake’s album sold over 600,000 copies.

This year’s albums selling over 200,000 only happened four times: One Direction’s Take Me Home (540,000) Taylor Swift’s Red (over 200,000 twice) and Rihanna’s Unapologetic (238,000).

12.7 million copies were scanned during the week that ended on Sunday, the biggest album week for the holidays. This was down from 15 million last year. The biggest week last year was 38.2 million digitally against this year’s 25.5 million. This is a 33% drop. If not for week 51, song sales would have been up 5.2% for weeks 46-50. With week 51, song sales are down 4.8% to 139.8 million from 146.9 million last year.

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Joseph Lee

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