Digital Jumps, Vinyl Soars, CDs Slump in 2008

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Neilsen SoundsScan released sales numbers for music in the United States last week, and for Canada this week.

The good news is that music sales are up. Overall units sold in Canada increased in 2008 by 11.5%. The bad news for the industry is that album sales are down, and album sales have the largest impact on profitability. Overall album sales dropped by 8.5%. Sales of digital albums rose by nearly 70%, but still represent only a fraction, less than 10%, of overall sales.

The cool thing, is that vinyl sales in the US (I can't put my finger on Canadian numbers) doubled in 2008 to 1.88 million units. I think we've all noticed vinyl on the merch table at more and more shows lately, often accompanied with a digital download. In the spirit of making music as accessible as possible through digital downloads but also providing value-added physical packaging to entice consumers to buy a physical product, vinyl seems to fit the bill nicely, and it seems that young music fans are leading this trend.

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