Earlier this week we got the exciting news that Taylor Swift and 1989 had passed the Frozen Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to become the bestselling album of 2014. Both albums went well beyond triple-platinum status during their 2014 sales runs and it seems Swift's most recent album will be one of the bestselling albums of the decade, if not the sole best selling record, but the time it's done. But now it's time to take the facts into consideration: Album sales as a whole were down by more than 11 percent during 2014.
It's great that both Swift and Disney managed to generate so many actual album sales for the music industry but those headlines are just a distraction from the fact that the industry as a whole is suffering. No album cracked 3 million in sales last year. In fact, Justin Timberlake topped 2013 album sales with 2.43 million copies of his The 20/20 Experience. However, 2013 featured 45 albums that cracked 500,000 copies sold while 2014 had only 31.
Another popular topic that misleads us into believing that music sales as a whole are alright are those reminding us that vinyl sales are up more than 50 percent during the year. Nothing wrong with that, but vinyl still only makes up roughly 2 percent of all music sales. It can't resurrect albums as a whole.
It's not a format question anymore. CD sales were down once again but so were download sales. Digital album sales were down 9 percent, according to Digital Music News. This is the second year in a row that downloads were down and 2013 was the first year ever that download sales fell.
Congratulations are also due to Sam Smith and Pentatonix, the only other two acts aside from Swift to go platinum with an album released during 2014.