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TheStreet Open House

The Nielsen Company & Billboard’s 2012 Music Industry Report

Stocks in this article: NLSN

Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS, the entertainment industry's leading data information systems, announced the 2012 year-end U.S. music sales figures for the 12-month period of January 2, 2012 through December 30, 2012. Nielsen SoundScan measures U.S. point-of-sale of recorded music product. Nielsen BDS tracks U.S. radio airplay and music streams. Both systems power many of the Billboard charts.

For 2012, sales of albums and track equivalents are down slightly at -1.8% vs. 2011. Digital Albums are up 14% and Digital Tracks are up 5%. CD sales declined 13%.

“Overall music purchases surpassed 1.65 billion units in 2012, up 3.1% vs. the previous record high set in 2011, driven by digital music sales, which continue be a key growth element within the market,” said David Bakula, SVP Client Development, Nielsen. “Digital Album sales are up 14.1% and Digital Track sales are up 5.1%, but despite being down 12.8%, physical is still the dominant album format.

“The big artist stories of the year are Adele and Taylor Swift,” continued Bakula. “Adele’s album, 21, is the first album ever to be the top seller of the year for two consecutive years, and Taylor Swift’s Red has sold more than 3.1 million copies in only 10 weeks, debuting with the highest weekly sales of any title since 2002.”

               
Overall Music Sales Overall Album Sales w/TEA

(Transactions: Albums, Singles, Music Video, Digital Tracks – In Millions)

(Includes All Albums & Track Equivalent Albums – In Millions)
    2012 2011 % Chg.     2012     2011 % Chg.
Units Sold 1,661 1,611 3.10% Units Sold 450 458 -1.80%
NOTE: TRACK EQUIVALENT ALBUMS EQUATE RATIO OF 10 TRACKS TO 1 ALBUM
 
Total Album Sales

Physical Music Sales

(Includes CDs, Cassettes, LPs, Digital Albums - In Millions) (Includes CDs, Cassettes, LPs - In Millions)
2012 2011 % Chg. 2012 2011 % Chg.
Units Sold 316 331 -4.40% Units Sold 198 227 -12.80%
 
Digital Album Sales Digital Track Sales
(In Millions)

(In Millions) – Nielsen SoundScan Sales Record*

2012 2011 % Chg. 2012 2011 % Chg.
Units Sold 118 103 14.10% Units Sold 1,336 * 1,271 5.10%
 
CD Album Sales

LP Album Sales

(CD Albums – In Millions)

(LP/Vinyl Records – In Millions) – Nielsen SoundScan Sales Record*

2012 2011 % Chg. 2012 2011 % Chg.
Units Sold 193 224 -13.50% Units Sold 4.6 * 3.9 17.70%
 
Holiday Season Album Sales Holiday Season Track Sales
(Sales 11/5/2012–12/30/2012 – In Millions) (Sales 11/5/2012–12/30/2012 – In Millions)
2012 2011 % Chg. 2012 2011 % Chg.
Units Sold 76 81 -7.10% Units Sold 238 237 0.60%
 

Current vs. Catalog Sales

(In Millions)
Overall Albums Digital Albums
2012 2011 % Chg. 2012 2011 % Chg.
Current 161 179 -10.20% Current 60 53 13.70%
Catalog 155 151 2.50% Catalog 57 50 14.60%
Deep Catalog 123 119 3.30% Deep Catalog 45 38 18.10%
 
Physical Albums Digital Tracks
2012 2011 % Chg. 2012 2011 % Chg.
Current 101 126 -20.30% Current 603 552 9.10%
Catalog 97 101 -3.50% Catalog 733 718 2.10%
Deep Catalog 78 81 -3.70%
 
 
Genre Total Album Sales Genre Digital Album Sales
(In Millions) (In Millions)
Genre 2012 2011 % Chg. Genre 2012 2011 % Chg.
Alternative 52.2 54.6 -4.30% Alternative 26.7 24.4 9.50%
Christian/Gospel* 22.9 23.7 -3.40% Christian/Gospel* 5.3 4.8 11.10%
Classical 7.5 9.4 -20.50% Classical 2.6 2.3 14.60%
Country 44.6 42.8 4.20% Country 11.2 8.1 37.80%
Dance/Electronic 8.7 9.9 -12.00% Dance/Electronic 4.9 4.8 1.20%
Jazz 8.1 11 -26.20% Jazz 2.5 2.6 -3.60%
Latin 9.7 11.7 -17.60% Latin 1.4 1.1 23.20%
Metal 31.9 31.9 -0.30% Metal 11.2 9.6 16.30%
New Age 1.7 1.9 -12.90% New Age 0.6 0.6 13.60%
R&B 49.7 55.3 -10.20% R&B 16.3 14.8 10.20%
Rap 24.2 27.3 -11.40% Rap 10.7 9.3 14.70%
Rock 102.5 100.5 2.00% Rock 43.1 36.3 18.80%
Soundtrack 12.3 13 -5.20% Soundtrack 6 5.4 12.70%
 
Genre Digital Track Sales Digital Track Sales by Decade
(Total Tracks, Core Genre – In Millions) (Songs Grouped by Decade of Release – In Millions)
Genre 2012 2011 % Chg. Genre 2012 2011 % Chg.
Blues 3 2.4 24.40% 2010’s 699 542 29.00%
Children 4.7 4.2 10.30% 2000’s 438 535 -18.20%
Christian/Gospel 34.4 32.2 6.50% 1990’s 91 87 5.00%
Classical 7 6.7 5.20% 1980’s 54 41 32.70%
Comedy 5.1 6.7 -23.40% 1970’s 33 33 0.60%
Country 162.1 143.7 12.80% 1960’s 16 18 -14.40%
Dance/Electronic 53 39.1 35.60% 1950’s 3 3 -6.70%
Holiday/Seasonal 12.1 13.7 -11.90% 1940’s 1 1 -6.00%
Jazz 8.8 9.2 -5.00%
Latin 21.1 20.6 2.20%

 

New Age 1.5 1.4 10.70%

 

Pop 303.8 305.6 -0.60%

 

R&B/Hip Hop 249.3 262.1 -4.90%

 

Rock 323.8 291.7 11.00%
World 8.7 4.1 110.80%
 

Notes:

Current/Catalog Definitions: “current” represents albums 18 months or newer; “catalog” 18 months or older (with some considerations for airplay and billboard chart position). “Deep catalog” is a subset within “catalog”.

 

Genres: Albums and tracks may appear in more than one genre. Album genres are based on billboard chart eligibility and can differ from the track genre methodology. Not all genres are included in the above tables.

 

* Includes sales figures tracked by Christian SoundScan.

 

2012 YEAR-TO-DATE RECORD COMPANY MARKET SHARE

(REFLECTS THE MARKET SHARE FOR THE ENTIRE ENTITY INCLUDING SUB-DISTRIBUTED COMPANIES FOR THE 52-WEEK YEAR)

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