Rap music made a huge comeback in sales last year lead by Eminem’s Recovery, the top-selling album of the year.
While its bump was not huge — just 3% — rap was the only genre to post an album-sales increase last year, scanning 27.3 million units, up from 26.4 million units in the prior year — and five straight years of declining sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan. 2009 saw a nearly 21% drop from 2008’s 33.4 million sales, continuing a plunge from 2007’s 41.7 million, 2006’s 59.5 million and 2005’s total scans of 75.1 million. Moreover, in each of those years, the rap decline was larger than the overall U.S. album market’s decline.
Along with Eminem’s 3.415 million sales for the year, other big sellers in the genre include Drake’s “Thank Me Later” (1.27 million), Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” (882,000), Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday” (852,000) and Lil Wayne’s “Rebirth” (710,000) and “I Am Not a Human Being” (664,000), according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It’s all a far cry from the way that rap began the new millennium: It sold 107 million units in 2000, racking up 13.6% of overall U.S. album sales. By contrast, hip-hop finished 2010 with 8.3% of all U.S. album sales.via Billboard
Though overall album sales dropped 13 percent in 2010, sales of vinyl increased by 14 percent over the previous year, with around 2.8 million units sold. This is a new record for vinyl sales since 1991, when the format had all but disappeared in the wake of the CD boom, according to a report released yesterday by Nielsen SoundScan.
Unsurprisingly, the artists who sell best in vinyl are classic rock acts and indie bands. The best selling vinyl artists in 2010 were the Beatles, the Black Keys, Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Jimi Hendrix, the National and Pavement. Pink Floyd, Metallica and Bob Dylan were also top sellers in the format.
The top selling new albums on vinyl were the Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, the Black Keys’ Brothers, Vampire Weekend’s Contra and the National’s High Violet. The overall bestselling vinyl album in 2010 was the Beatles’ Abbey Road — which of course was originally released in 1969.
But overall, the music industry’s sales trends are worrisome. Overall music sales — albums, singles, music videos and digital tracks — were down 2.4 percent from 2009, and total album sales — CDs, cassettes, vinyl and digital albums — were down 12.7 percent.
via Rolling Stone