Michael Nelson goes long on Rihanna's botched ANTI release strategy for Stereogum, and what it means for the industry and her that it went platinum despite reportedly selling less than 500 copies total in the same timeframe it was certified in. It's a fascinating read about conflicts of interest, industry rules bending at the will of superstars, how corporations might try to game the system without being punished, and even how streaming warps the value of a "sale." If you're at all interested in the industry and how this release happened, I can't encourage you to read this enough.
On that note: How much did Samsung pay for those ANTI giveaways? Thatís a mystery. It could have been $5...
The RIAA's rules for gold and platinum certifications have changed, with the organization now including streams towards the units necessary to achieve certification. Similar to Billboard/Nielson's methods of counting sales, 1,500 streams will equate to ten track sales and thus an album sale. The result is that 17 albums have now hit a new certification today, including Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly being certified platinum. Check out the full list of newly certified albums in the replies.
Rihanna's ANTI is apparently RIAA-certified platinum, benefitting from the same rule change that gave Jay-Z's Magna Carta Holy Grail platinum status in 2013. Billboard still won't count those sales towards it's charts for the week, unless they also change their rules.
And yet the biggest music consumption story of the year was not even available on streaming services. We were awed by Adeleís record-crushing 25. We monitored daily activity across sales, streaming, airplay and social, and were thrilled to report on every new milestone she achieved, incredible by any measuring stick.
Adele's 25 was the No. 1 album with 194,000 equivalent album units (164,000 pure album sales), and is its seventh week being at the top spot. Twenty One Pilots' album Blurryface was No. 3 on the Billboard 200 with 52,000 equivalent units (27,000 pure album sales). Rachel Platten's major label debut album, Wildfire, debuted at No. 5 with 45,000 equivalent units (29,000 pure album sales). The full top ten can be found over at Billboard.
As 2015 has ended, streaming and vinyl have shown a rise in the music industry, as physical albums and digital sales continue to decline. Billboard posted an interesting article that lists various 2015 statistics regarding the American recording music industry.
Streaming continued to overtake the American recorded music industry last year. In fact, it doubled -- from 164.5 billion songs streamed in 2014 to 317.2 billion last year, according to Nielsen Music. That increase translates into 211.5 million stream equivalent albums -- whereby 1,500 song streams equal one album -- up from 109.7 million in 2014. That's an increase of nearly 93 percent.
No surprise here, but Adele's 25 was the top selling album of 2015, taking that title in a little over a month's time frame, with 8.01 million equivalent album units moved - 7.44 million of that is pure traditional album sales. By herself alone, she also accounted for three percent of the total album sales this year in the U.S.
The 8.01 million equivalent album units figure is a multi-metric consumption total, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The multi-metric formula is also used to compile the weekly Billboard 200 albums chart, which ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S.
Adele's 25 has now crossed the 5 million mark in pure album sales. Check it out via Billboard.
25 is the first album to sell 5 million copies in a calendar year since Adele herself did it in 2011 with her previous album, 21. That year, 21 sold 5.82 million and was the top-selling album of the year. (25 and 21 are the only albums to sell 5 million copies in a calendar year since 2004, when Usherís Confessions cleared 7.98 million.)
Hits Daily Double is reporting that Adele's 25 has sold 1,021,558 units during its second week. Billboard is set to confirm final numbers this Sunday. If true, this would have 25 become the first album to sell a million copies in more than one week.
Adele's album 25 has now crossed the 4 million mark of pure album sales. There are still four days left in sales tracking this week. She could be on track to reach another million in sales during the album's second week.
Billboard reached out to various members of N*Sync to get their thoughts on Adele's accomplishment today, and Joey Fatone responded.
"Records are always meant to be broken, but with technology and current music business model, I thought this one would be tough to beat," Fatone tells Billboard. "In all honesty, Adele is the truth -- kinda excited a rare talent like hers is in the same breath as our group. I'm a huge fan....I even bought the damn album."
I've run out of superlatives to describe Adele's sales numbers for 25, so let's just let them speak for themselves: she's sold 2.3 million copies in three days, putting her very close to beating N*Sync's first week record of 2.4 million in less than half the time; those numbers include 900,000 copies sold on iTunes on the first day alone, and she's projected to finish the week somewhere around 2.9 million. She also might bow out her second week with yet another million sold, becoming the first artist to ever do more than a million in two separate weeks. There really is no precedent for these kinds of sales.
At $71 billion, Americans spend more money on the lottery per year than they do on both live and recorded music. The same could be said of weddings, and for about the same amount. Live and recorded music, ticket sales, and digital and physical recordings, including streaming, are worth instead a total of only $6.8 billion. Nielsen puts the average per capita consumer spending on music in 2014 at $104, and this includes live performance and festival spending. This figure seems to be much exaggerated. For a population of 350 million, it would mean a total music spending in the US of nearly $35 billion, making festivals and, perhaps, artist...
In addition to the initial week-one projection of almost 2.5 million, sources add that Sony projects it will sell an additional 1 million CDs over the following three weeks. By Christmas, 25 could be at 4 million units total.
Billboard has ranked the top albums and artists ever on their Billboard 200, and introduced a new series of posts called Greatest of All Time. Notable mentions include Adele's 21 as the top Billboard 200 album, and The Beatles as the greatest act.
Adele's 25 doesn't come out until November 20th, but it's already sold 250,000 preorders and according to some industry experts, could be on track to sell 2 million copies of the album in it's first week. That would be the second best first week ever, behind only N*Sync's 2.4 million opening week for their album No Strings Attached. Even if it doesn't crack two million, the album is essentially a lock to debut with more than a million copies alongside first single "Hello" debuting at #1 on the Hot 100.
Chvrches' new album Every Open Eye debuted with 34,214 copies sold in the first week. That will make it the #1 alternative album, #8 overall album on the Billboard 200, the #1 rock album on the charts.
Rock band Bring Me the Horizon earns its highest charting album ever Ė and first Top 10 set Ė as Thatís the Spirit bows at No. 2 on the Billboard 200. The set moved 62,000 units, of which 55,000 are pure album sales. The latter sum makes it No. 1 on the Top Album Sales chart, and gives the band its best sales week ever. Their previous biggest sales frame came when their last album, 2013ís Sempiternal, bowed at No. 11 on the Billboard 200 with 27,000 copies sold in its first week. (That album was also their highest-charting set until this week.)
HypeBot has a good rundown on the current state of the music industry. Vinyl continues to do really well.
If you add in the new ways of looking at albums in the digital domain (track equivalent albums = 10 and stream equivalent albums = 1500), total album sales are actually up 14% over last year at this time.
Rock act Florence + The Machine claims its first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart, as their third album, How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful, debuts atop the list. The set was released on June 2 and shifted 137,000 equivalent album units in the week ending June 7, according to Nielsen Music. Previously, the act -- which is led by singer Florence Welch -- topped out at No. 6 with their last album, 2011ís Ceremonials. Florence + The Machineís 2009 debut, Lungs, peaked at No. 14.
Alabama Shakes have landed the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 with their new album, Sound & Color, selling a whopping 96K units. The band also released their new video for the title track which you can find in the replies.