Friday, January 7, 2011

The Beatles dominate 2010 vinyl sales

The Beatles made headlines in 2010 with the hugely successful launch of their music on iTunes, but there’s a (literal) flip-side to the story: they were also the biggest-selling vinyl artist and album of the year.

Figures released this week by Neilsen Soundscan and Billboard place The Fab Four at the top of both the vinyl album and artist lists.

The Beatles sold 36,700 units of vinyl, solely on the strength of sales of “Abbey Road,” which made up 35,000 of the total. The Black Keys were a very close second at 36,000 – just 700 copies behind the legendary British band.

Other rockers on the top 10 Artist list include Jimi Hendrix and Metallica.

Top 10 Vinyl Artists of 2010
Nielsen SoundScan
(Jan 4/10 – Jan 2/11)

01. The Beatles (36,700)
02. The Black Keys (36,000)
03. Radiohead (30,500)
04. Arcade Fire (28,600)
05. Jimi Hendrix (26,400)
06. National (24,600)
07. Pavement (24,200)
08. Vampire Weekend (21,900)
09. Metallica (20,000)
10. Bob Dylan (17,000)

The Top 10 vinyl albums list for 2010 had The Beatles' “Abbey Road” on top, selling roughly twice as much as the second-place disc, Arcade Fire’s “Suburbs.” Interesting to see both Jimi Hendrix and Pink Floyd on the chart, as “Dark Side Of The Moon” continues to attract interest almost 40 years after its release.

Top 10 Vinyl Albums of 2010
Nielsen SoundScan
(Jan 4/10 – Jan 2/11)

01. Abbey Road, The Beatles (35,000)
02. Suburbs, Arcade Fire (18,800)
03. Black Keys, Brothers (18,400)
04. Contra, Vampire Weekend (15,000)
05. Thriller, Michael Jackson (14,200)
06. High Violet, National (13,600)
07. Teen Dream, Beach House (13,000)
08. Valleys of Nepture, Jimi Hendrix Experience (11,400)
09. Dark Side of the Moon, Pink Floyd (10,600)
10. XX, The XX (10,200).

Billboard reports that vinyl sales rose 14% from 2009 to 2010, according to the Nielsen Company and Billboard's 2010 Music Industry Report. In 2009, 2.5 million vinyl albums were sold; in 2010, that number rose to 2.8 million and cracked the Nielsen SoundScan sales record.

Billboard says that, while an uptick in sales is welcome news in any corner of the music industry, the raw numbers here are fairly small -- overall album sales in 2010 came in at 443.4 million units. And as the top selling albums indicate, the vinyl audience is fairly self-selecting -- as the top-selling vinyl artists show, hipsters and boomers dominate the niche market. In fact, vinyl sales account for only 4% of total sales for both Arcade Fire and Black Keys.

Other 2010 music industry numbers, as posted by Neilsen Soundscan:

• Music purchases reached the 1.5 Billion mark for the third consecutive year. 1.5 billion in 2010; 1.6 billion in 2009; 1.5 billion in 2008 (1.4 billion in 2007; 1.2 billion in 2006; 1 billion in 2005).

• Music purchases reached 60 million during week ending December 26, 2010, making it the third biggest sales week in the history of Nielsen SoundScan. The biggest sales week in Nielsen SoundScan history was set during the same week in 2008 with 65 million music purchases.

• Overall Album sales (including Albums and Track Equivalent Album sales) declined 9.5% over 2009.

• Total album sales declined 12.7% over 2009.

• There were 240 million physical album sales in 2010; a decline of 19% over 2009.

• The Rap genre was the only genre that experienced growth over the previous year; an increase of 3% in sales.

• The only genre (other than Rap) that did not see a double digit decline was Country, which is down 5% over 2009.

• For the third consecutive year, more vinyl albums were purchased in 2010 (2.8 million) than any other year in the history of Nielsen SoundScan. The previous record was in 2009 with 2.5 million LP album sales.

o Note that 71% of all vinyl albums were purchased at an independent music store during 2010.

o Vinyl album sales in 2010 were up 14% compared to 2009 and accounted for 1% of all album sales.

The Beatles – Come Together (1969)

See also:

The Beatles: John Lennon’s Abbey Road suit sells for 46K at auction
Yoko Ono: “I didn’t break up The Beatles”
The Beatles: Abbey Road crossing earns U.K. heritage status
Yoko Ono donates gold John Lennon coin to Alder Hey Imagine Appeal for auction
The Beatles: John Lennon’s Abbey Road suit up for auction
Paul McCartney rocks SNL
Paul McCartney pays tribute to John Lennon
U2 pay tribute to John Lennon