Even though music-streaming services are a popular way of accessing music, this doesn't mean that consumers aren't still purchasing albums. While this may be music to the industry's ears, it was older albums that were flying off shelves in 2015 compared with new releases.
Adele's most recent album, titled 25, sold an impressive 7.4 million copies in just six weeks, but it wasn't enough to outsell the current trend of buying older albums.
According to Nielsen's annual end-of-the-year music report, old albums outsold newer releases by 4.3 million copies.
It's important to note that the amount of albums sold does not include the number of album streams. According to the data, consumers are purchasing more newer albums digitally compared with old, or what are known as "catalog" albums, defined as those released more than 18 months ago.
The data reveals that in 2015, 71.2 million copies of physical albums sold were catalog titles, compared with the 65.8 albums sold that were current releases. The report also shows that, overall, catalog albums made up 122.8 million sold, whereas current albums sold 118.5 million units.
While it makes sense that consumers would want to be able to listen to Adele or Justin Bieber's new album on their smartphones, or opt to stream instead of buying new releases (in fact, Bieber set an all-time record for total audio on-demand streams in one week for an album in November 2015 for the release of his album Purpose), the rise in popularity of vinyl records could be a reason why consumers are purchasing physical copies of older albums.
In 2014, 11.9 million vinyl records were sold. With many hipsters starting up a record collection, it would only make sense to make sure they include some oldies but goodies and their favorite albums they played nonstop when growing up.
The Nielsen report revealed that Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon sold 50,000 records last year, becoming the third-highest-selling album on vinyl. The report notes that rock is the biggest genre of vinyl LPs (68 percent of vinyl sales are rock titles).
But even though older albums by artists like The Beatles and Miles Davis were also among the top five best-selling vinyl album lists, consumers are also buying vinyl records from newer artists like Adele and Taylor Swfit. Adele's album 25 was crowned as the top-selling vinyl, while Swift's latest album, 1989, was found to be the second biggest-selling vinyl album of 2015.
As far as digital albums go, 52.9 million sold were current albums, compared with the 50.9 million that were catalog, with artists like Adele, Drake, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and Ed Sheeran having the best-selling digital albums of the year.
While 2015 was, hands down, the year go Adele, artists like Fetty Wap, The Weeknd and Drake had the most on-demand audio streams.
Source: Chart Attack
Photo: HayeurJF | Flickr