It’s become accepted as fact that albums are out and digital is in; not to mention the music industry in general is on a downward slope. Figures from the first half of 2011 are — well, not really challenging this theory, but a step in the other direction. According to a story by Exclaim, album sales in North America are up for the first time since 2004. Not much, but up.
Figures from Nielsen SoundScan report that the first half of 2011 fostered a one percent (close to two million albums) rise in sales compared to the first half of 2010, arriving to around 155 million. Adele’s 21 alone has moved 2.5 million, to put that number in perspective.
Not only are albums selling more, but music sales in general have risen 8.5 percent since last year. Digital tracks have sold 11 percent more than last year, digital album sales at 19 percent, and 41 percent for vinyl. Yeah, you can call that a comeback.
Adele’s record is the number one album in 2011, with other sluggers including Lady Gaga’s Born This Way and Mumford and Sons’ Sigh No More. Katy Perry and Kanye West’s track “E.T.” has sold over four million units, followed by omnipresent hits including Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”, Cee Lo’s “Fuck You”, Gaga’s “Born This Way”, and Rihanna’s “S&M”. As for vinyl, the albums all the music nerds have been buying are Fleet Foxes’ Helplessness Blues and the Fab Four’s Abbey Road, both of which sold 20,000 copies.
It is worth mentioning, as Exclaim notes, that Internet fire sales like Born This Way‘s 99 cent Amazon promotion contribute to the numbers, but even without Born This Way, album sales would still be up.
Plus, as Pollstar and the L.A. Times report, concert revenue is also up in 2011. The top 50 worldwide tours have garnered 11 percent more this year than last year, for a total of $1.65 billion, even though ticket sales have gone down two percent. Which means ticket prices (up 14 percent worldwide), rather than an influx in attendance, are to thank for the increased revenue. There’s something to be said for consumers’ willingness to pay the higher prices.