Nielsen SoundScan has already released its report for Q1 of music sales for 2015 and so far things are looking good during the new year. Digital downloads have rebounded from the previous year by some degree, vinyl sales continue to rebound and...overall album sales aren't plummeting quite as fast as they once were. Taylor Swift, Drake and Mark Ronson are the ones to thank, based on the research provided.
The most relevant news comes in the form of digital albums. More than 28.26 million digital albums were bought during the first quarter of 2015, which marks a 2.8 percent increase over the first quarter of 2014. Billboard claims that it's not as simple as thanking Drake's If You're Reading This It's Too Late for the boost, but then presents exactly why the Toronto rapper deserves a slap on the back: Prior to his latest album coming out in early February, album downloads were down 1.8 percent for the year. Then Too Late, which was only available digitally, came along and sold 793,000 copies. That's nearly 3 percent of all digital albums sold during 2015. Yeah, we feel the industry should buy him a beer.
That said, overall album sales are still down by 1.8 percent. Nielsen seems to be okay with that, but it's more disconcerting when you consider digital album sales are up, as are vinyl sales. Translation: CD sales are way down. Taylor Swift has been the closest thing to a savior that the physical market can get, selling nearly 950,000 copies of 1989 thus far during 2015. Although we don't know how much of that is digital, we can attest that 19,000 of those copies are vinyl, which makes it the bestselling 12" format title of the year thus far.
Nielsen disappointingly doesn't provide numbers on how digital downloads as a whole-for singles and albums-are looking in comparison to 2014, but we have a hunch that the prognosis is good. Those who have been following Carolyn Menyes' Hot 100 reports know that Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk" has topped the chart for 13 straight weeks now, and has gathered 3.7 million downloads in the process.