Digital album sales climb, vinyl makes a comeback in 2008

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Nielsen SoundScan, a service that tracks point-of-purchase sales of music, Nielsen BDS a music performance monitoring service and Nielsen RingScan, which tracks mobile ringtone purchases, released comprehensive data about 2008 music purchases in the U.S.

According to Nielsen, consumers purchased more than 1.51 billion music products (albums, singles, music videos and digital tracks), which is a 10.5% increase over 2007. Physical media sales were down by 14%, while digital single sales climbed by 27% to 1.07 billion and digital album sales were up by 32% to 65.8 million, the market research firm estimates.

The three most downloaded tracks were Bleeding Love (Leona Lewis, 3.42 million units), Lollipop (Lil Wayne Feat. Static Major, 3.16 million) and Low (Flo Rida Feat. T-Pain, 2.98 million). The artists that sold the most digital music in 2008 were Rihanna (9.9 million units), Taylor Swift (8.79 million) and Kanye West (6.88 million).

The most successful Internet albums were Metallica’s Death Magnetic (144,000 units), Little Bit Longer (Jonas Brothers, 119,000) and Viva La Vida (Coldplay, 112,000).

Surprisingly, vinyl albums made a comeback in 2008 and an 89% increase in sales from 990,000 to 1.88 million. The top albums were In Rainbows (Radiohead, 25,800 units), Abbey Road (Beatles, 16,500) and Chinese Democracy (Guns ‘n Roses, 13,600).