Album sales have struggled over the last few years since streaming took over. To no surprise, they have been declining in popularity. People simply like singles more these days. The COVID-19 pandemic has left a gaping hole in the music industry. Festivals and concerts have been canceled. Music releases have been pushed back. Album sales were not left out of this destruction.
According to estimates by Nielsen Music/MRC Data, for the week ending on March 19, overall album sales fell 29 percent to 1.52 million. Keep in mind that the number includes all forms of albums, from Digital to disks to cassettes. 1.52 million is the lowest number of total alumn sales since the mid-1960s. That was the beginning of the so-called “Album Era” that ran to the 1990s.
Music streaming has also seen a decline in March. You would think this would actually be the opposite but I guess people are not in the mood right now. The decline in album sales can be attributed to a multitude of reasons. Most music releases are currently postponed given the circumstances. Record shops and music retailers are closed. Amazon has also stopped restocking its inventory of music to focus on home and medical supplies.
We know this trend will turn around once this whole thing is over. However, given album sales were already on the decline, this will not help their case in turning that around any time soon. On the other hand, I am sure artists are working hard at home on their music. In a few months, I bet the industry is going to explode with new music. That’s one thing we all can look forward to.