2006 Genre Album Sales Report

January 7, 2007

Nielsen SoundScan has just released its report on 2006 Year-End Music Report [Here is a .doc download of the complete report]. Glance over the statistics for album sales by genre this year. The Long Tail has an interesting analysis of this as well.

Anyone who knows anything about statistics knows that you can not always see a trend by looking at only two years. But in that all we have to look at in this report IS two years, let’s see whether we can see any trends.

Classical sales are up 22.5%. I’m not sure why, perhaps the aging of the music audience. Close behind is Soundtracks which as a genre is up almost 19%. This is due in large part to “High School Musical” but I can’t help but think that the aging listening population may very well turn to film music as “their” classical music. Stay tuned.
Latin music is up 5% and Christian/Gospel is up only a bit over 1%.

The genres losing the most ground has New Age music losing almost 23% in sales last year. (Hmm, is this the new skepticism arching its back?) Rap and R&B have both lost around 20% in sales, and metal has slid 4.5%. I am not clear why there is no 2005 catetory for rock.

Classical musicians are excited about the upturn in popularity, but looking at the overall number of albums sold, the least popular genres, from bottom up, are New Age, Jazz, Classical, and Soundtrack. I fear New Age, like Pluto, may lose it’s category one of these days. Music schools and conservatories pass on primarily the classical tradition, and some have jazz programs, very few teach film music.

I find it interesting that Classical music still carries the most academic clout, despite its relative unpopularity. Everything is relative I guess. Like the universe.

[Thanks to Alex for sharing this report.]

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