Statement of Jim Donio, President of music business association NARM, regarding U.S. year-end sales figures for 2012 (released today by Nielsen SoundScan and published by Billboard).
“The results are in and Adele has topped the year-end album sales charts for the second consecutive year, the first time this accomplishment has been achieved by an artist since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Her album ‘21’ sold another 4.41 million copies in 2012, and received Diamond certification by the RIAA, an outstanding honor for any album, let alone an album that has been in the marketplace less than two years.
“Digital tracks also had a remarkable year, with a record 1.336 billion songs sold, led by Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ with 6.8 million. Overall, digital track sales volume was up 5% over 2011, which is particularly significant given that notable streaming and subscription services were available for a full year in 2012. Moreover, a record 55.74 million digital songs were sold in the final week of 2012, fueled by redemptions of music download gift cards exchanged over the holidays. It’s a figure that certainly validates music’s place as a very popular and long lasting gift. NARM and RIAA will continue to partner to promote music as a perfect gift not just for the holidays but all throughout the year via our Give the Gift of Music (givethegiftofmusic.info) program.
“The continued growth of digital albums by 14% to 117.68 million is extremely encouraging. While we experienced another year of decline in CD album sales volume by 13%, they are in no danger of disappearing. CDs still dominate the market for albums, and Nielsen forecasts that digital albums will likely not overtake CDs in terms of market share until 2015. In addition, vinyl albums continued their upward trajectory for the fifth year in a row, rising by a healthy 18% to 4.55 million.
“If we look at overall US album sales for the year, factoring in albums and track equivalents, volume was down less than 2% from 2011. This compares favorably to some other territories around the world. In terms of the broader music marketplace, it’s essential to note that data is not yet readily available that would factor in the positive economic impact of burgeoning streaming, subscription and other ad-supported models. And as smartphones, tablets and other new forms of technology enter the lives and households of more and more Americans every year, there will clearly be many new opportunities for growth of the music industry in the years ahead.”