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This Week's CD Sales Worst Since 1991

It's frustrating to know that when an album like the National's High Violet does well on the Billboard charts, it happens at a time when record sales plummeting to figures from 1991. That was the year Nielsen Soundscan began tracking album sales. And, apparently, those numbers hadn't been that low in nearly 20 years. That was, of course, until this past week, when just about 5.3 million records were sold.


It's not much of a surprise when you look at how Justin Bieber's multi-chart-topping My World 2.0 only sold a bit more than 60,000 copies and still came in at number 1. It also just missed breaking the record for a number 1 album with least copies sold. But that title is still held by the Dreamgirls soundtrack, which just broke 60,000 sold back in 2007, according to Billboard.


Also, as Joseph Plambeck of the New York Times' Arts Beat section points out, there were no "major" albums released this week. And I can only guess that these numbers will be ridiculously bloated in June with albums coming from the likes of Diddy, Drake, Eminem, and many other big names. Ah well, I'll take this in stride if this translates into more meaningful records like High Violet sitting in the Top 5. Also, props to the Dead Weather for sitting pretty high, too.


The Billboard Top 10 for the last week with copies sold rounded off:

1. Justin Bieber - My World 2.0 - 60,000

2. Lady Antebellum - Need You Now  - 54,000

3. The National - High Violet - 51,000

4. AC/DC - Iron Man 2 - 48,000

5. The Dead Weather - Sea of Cowards - 45,000

6. Carole King and James Taylor - Live at the Troubadour - 44,000

7. Usher - Raymond v. Raymond - 43,000

8. Charice - Charice - 43,000

9. Godsmack - The Oracle - 43,000

10. As I Lay Dying - Powerless Rise - 38,000


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Album Sales
Industry News
Justin Beiber
The National

Congrats to The National, but that is pretty crappy news that there were so few album sales last week.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

How were MP3 sales in 1991 compared to this week?


AC/DC for life.

Make music that people want and not music that makes people poke their ear drums out.

quality music

pop music is getting worse and this is reflected in the album sales. Justin Beiber... seriously what the hell happened to good music?


This numbers don't account for digital sales. Quit trying to fool people with your slanted numbers. "Oh the formats, they are a changin'" That's the way it's always been and always will be.


I'm just glad kesha wasn't in the top 10

music is dead

This ancient format is sputtering toward a less than graceful death. Just let the damn discs go already, it's 2010.


That's because we're fed musical crap for the most part through traditional music distribution channels, there aren't any record stores left to actually buy a CD, and the new model of One Hit Wonder artists means the average consumer is going to buy a 99 cent song from iTunes, or 14 songs from 14 artists that they really want to hear.

Rick Jagger

Did the data include iTunes & related electronic sales or just traditional physical discs? A leading trend has been to download from iTunes & etc just the few songs you want instead of the whole CD. Both of these situations would cause the fall in album sales.


I stopped buying any cd's period. I no longer listen to the radio either. I strongly disagree with the music industry's gestapo practices. I have 'tuned out'.


And how many digital sales were there last week? Lets get the big picture here.

Eric Stone

Is this really not to be expected? The major labels are pushing through crap for quick sales, it's no wonder why people pirate as much as they do. I can see why it's not worth buying yet good enough to pirate. Meh


But how many songs were sold via iTunes and other online music sales sites? Saying CD sales are down is like complaining that cassette sales tanked in the 90's.


it would be pretty awesome if someone could figure out how to remonetize the music industry without bastardizing it...who doesn't long for the days when quality music was developed, promoted well, and sometimes even bought?


LOL, People still buy CDs? Really?

Jo Dean

I'm pretty sure that the Nielsen numbers take into account complete digital album sales. As far as digital singles numbers, those were up 2 percent from last week.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Between a transition to mp3s where you don't have to buy an entire album to get the 1 or 2 songs you like and artists like Bieber and Ke-dollar sign-ha, this is not news. Water is wet, the sky is blue.


W.G.A.S really there's plenty of good music but none on the airwaves. oh excuse me Lady Gaga, not. oh please rehashed crap form the 80's for the dime masses


Not only is pop music getting worse but musicians have more tools to be successful without the help of the major record labels. As labels loose more control we will continue to see a decline in record sales, but who really cares.

Single song downloads/sales are on the rise! and because of technology the quality of music we listen to is improving. Everything is changing, Independent musicians rule the future of the industry. You can begin to witness these changes through websites like,, and

Down with pop, up with the underground


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