Music sales in the US are up 1.6% in 2011, according to The Nielsen Company, as digital album and track sales saw dramatic year-over-year growth through May 8, 2011. While Nielsen data shows physical albums saw a decline in year-over-year sales from the same period in 2010, digital album and track purchases went up 16.8% and 9.6%, respectively.
Digital retailers received more than half of all music transactions, propelling a 12.4% growth in sales compared to last year.
Beatlemania Fuels Shift in Catalog Sales
Sales of digital catalog albums, which were improving but still showing negative year-over-year growth from August – October 2010, suddenly shifted course in November 2010 and produced year-over-year growth of about 10%. Nielsen credits the signing of an historic agreement that finally allowed the sales of music from the Beatles in digital format as spurring this interest in purchasing digital catalog music.
After the initial spike in November 2010, the growth rate of digital catalog sales decreased substantially in December 2010 and January 2011, but remained positive, and then posted a modest improvement in February 2011 before jumping to well more than 10% in March 2010 and slightly declining again in April 2011.
Vinyl Sales Small, But Growing
- Rock is the most popular genre of music, with 32% album share, while pop music represents 40% of all current digital tracks sold.
- Ninety-three of the 100 best-selling vinyl albums in 2011 fall within the rock or alternative genres.
Musicians Have Most Twitter Followers
In another sign of the popularity of music in the digital format, five of the 10 most-followed Twitter users are primarily famous for being musical performers, according to a ranking by social media analysis service Twitalyzer. Lady Gaga is number one with almost 9.1 million followers, with Justin Bieber coming in second with about 8.3 million followers.
All of the 10 most popular users are celebrities from the world of entertainment or politics, rather than technology personalities or online celebrities such as bloggers or social networkers.