Christmas Music Album Sales Are Down at Retail – Billboard

Will this finally be the year that Christmas music streaming eats up holiday music sales? is paying attention.

Since 2017, as of December 8, there has been a 61.8% decline in seasonal music album sales by physical format and digital download to 1.44 million copies in 2022 (so far). According to Luminate’s data through December 8, it sold 90.55 million copies this year, compared with 91.64 million at the time.

Moreover, the music of the season has remained stable during that time, with 6.41 million album consumption units so far in 2022, compared to 6.24 million album consumption units in the same period of the 49-week year-to-date in 2017. , with an overall annual average of 6.3 million albums consumed over the five years. But as you might imagine, streaming has gone from his 3.2 billion overall holiday song streams as of week 49 of 2017 to his 6.68 billion holiday song streams so far this year. He has more than doubled.

“This year could be the year streaming influences Christmas sales,” said one major label executive.

But while the music wholesaler admits that the genre’s sales haven’t had its best holiday season yet, it argues that there are other reasons for the sluggish numbers this year. They argue that 2022 is missing a key ingredient that has proven to have a major impact on the genre as a whole during the holiday season in the past. It’s the big new Christmas album driving traffic and driving sales across the genre.

“Many of our new albums are on track and have decent volume, but not one of them has been a breakaway hit,” said Alliance Entertainment senior vice president of purchasing and marketing. Laura ProvenzanoOver the past few years, big holiday music albums have been made by Josh Groban and his Noel The album scanned 3.7 million albums in its debut year of 2007 and now has a total consumption of 6.32 million albums in the US.Michael Bublé Christmas, scanned 2.45 million albums in its release year 2011, and has scanned a total of 4.5 million album consumption units to date. Or, going further back, Kenny G’s miracle, holiday album, which scanned about 3 million copies in its 1994 debut. These albums really rocked the sales numbers for their genre in the year they were released.

In addition to no big album releases this year, music distributors say the physical sales landscape has changed, with more titles being released on expensive vinyl formats. So while the distributor is seeing his per-disc revenue increase thanks to the popularity of records, he’s also seeing a decline in CD sales as budget floor space is being squeezed.

“Some major retailers are losing their presence in the budget business. There are fewer $5 bins on the shelves these days,” says Provenzano. Meanwhile, as more of his holiday albums are released on vinyl, “a lot of holiday music is no longer an impulse buy item now that prices have gone up,” he adds Provenzano.

For example, as of week 49 of 2017, physical holiday and seasonal album sales totaled 2,987,000, with 100,000 in vinyl format. According to Luminate, as of week 49 of this year, total physical sales were his 1.142 million, of which his 637,000 were on his CD format and 503,000 on vinyl.

Music is generally considered recession-proof, but that doesn’t mean all genres are immune to recession threats, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. While records are growing exponentially, shoppers these days are far more price-sensitive when it comes to holiday music, agrees All Media Supply’s music buyers. Joe Pika.

Even though it’s been a calm year for holiday music, many long-standing Christmas titles are still selling steadily, if not as well as they used to, according to music retailers and wholesalers. Some of the new albums are doing pretty well too.The new release they’re pointing to is Lindsey Stirling’s snow waltzhas generated 37,000 units (25,000 physical copies) so far this year since its October release.and her 2017 collection warm in winterhas generated 25,000 album consumption units so far this year, and 455,000 units — 176,000 physical — since its release.Other new releases include Bocelli’s family christmas 66,000 album consumption units (including about 52,000 physical copies) since its October release.and the Backstreet Boys Christmas in a very back streethas so far accumulated 57,000 album consumption units, of which 38,000 are physical copies.

But if music merchandisers lament, there it was one Big album out of the pack. In fact, merchandisers wanted the Backstreet Boys album to fill that role. First, because on ABC he was going to be paired with the December 14th special. However, that show was pulled down due to allegations that singer Nick Carter raped a 17-year-old girl while on tour in 2001. The news, which he denies, first appeared in December. Reported on the 8th.

Looking at the daily sales of that title over the past two weeks, albums ranged from 1,100 to 1,400 every day until December 12, except for an increase of 7,000 album consumption units on December 12. And you can see that they are selling at about the same pace. 5. However, despite its claims, although its sales and streaming activity appear to have sustained, the album could benefit from increased sales that the holiday TV special would have aired. sex is low.

In addition to new releases, other Christmas albums issued in the last few years — including Dolly Parton’s Holly Dolly Christmas — and continue to be healthy.Kelly Clarkson when christmas is near has generated around 51,000 album consumption units since its release in October 2021, of which 15,000 were in physical format, reaching 106,000 units overall.Carrie Underwood’s my gift has earned 46,000 album consumption units so far this year, 17,000 of which are physical, and 628,000 album units since Bow in 2020.

Meanwhile, Pentatonix has built a strong holiday brand through its six season albums, earning 251,000 album consumption units so far this year, of which 28,000 are from its latest effort. world holidaysHowever, the physical copy is only 10%, or 25,000 units. Trans-Siberian Orchestra is already a holiday music brand, as his four genre albums this year combined, he achieved album consumption activity of 111,000 units, of which nearly 28,000 were physical copies.

But even with shows from current artists like Underwood, Clarkson, Pentatonix, and legacy artists like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, head of sales and marketing for Ingram Entertainment, Steve Harkins Will we see the changing of the guard in the holiday genre? For example, the Holiday Seasonal Albums chart for the week ending December 8th shows the Christmas perennial albums of the last 50 years. For example, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Andy Williams, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis and Burl Ives have only four total albums in the top 25 of the December 8 chart. In the second half are his six albums from No. 26 to his No. 50.

“We’ve always relied on old staples, but now more contemporary artists are making their way to the top of the holiday charts. It might be a generational shift,” says Harkins. “Some crooners have been replaced. They’re still selling steadily, but sales are down.”

According to Provenzano, some people disagree with this assessment.Or, as All Media’s Pina puts it, “Are kids buying Bing today? It’s hard to believe. But Alabama still sells a lot.” Christmas albums and more [perennial] Holiday sellers keep walking.

As new holiday music rises, You might be right so far for this year’s season album chart, but not for the overall holiday/season song streaming chart. Of the top 25 songs on that chart, Ariana Grande’s “Santa Tell Me” is her #6, Pentatonix’s “Hallelujah” is her #17, and Sia’s “Snowman” is her #20. Only the songs are from the last decade. That’s down from the previous year, when four of her songs made it into the top 25 holiday songs for the year-to-date within her ten-year release period ending December 2, 2021. 100 songs have been released in the last decade, but overall, she’s only 34 in the top 100 holiday season songs released this century. New holiday songs released this year had only four of her in the top 100 holiday season songs as of Dec. 9, with Lizzo’s “Someday At Christmas” being her most active at number 55.

Some holiday classics are selling well year after year, and some are growing year after year.Alliance’s Provenzano wonders how many Vince Guaraldi Trio copies there are Charlie Brown Christmas The industry can sell every year. Since 2017, the title has grown annually, from 76,000 album consumption units to approximately 191,000 units as of the 49th week of each year thereafter. A slight increase from last year’s 189,000, which was better than 2020 (164,000), 2019 (134,000) and 2018 (88,000).

However, other traditionally large-scale albums like the Mannheim Steamroller album, which consisted of nine studio albums and four compilation or live albums dating back to the late 1980s, earned a total of 23 platinum awards from the RIAA. Sales in the holiday sellers have fallen considerably. This year, its catalog has generated around 75,000 album consumption units so far, of which his just over 3,000 were physical sales.

Still, the label hasn’t given up on its longtime seller. By renewing those albums, they began to boost sales for various titles. Holly Dolly Christmasor, like the Vince Guaraldi Trio classic, to issue an album on different colored vinyl.Newbery Comics buyer from Brighton, Massachusetts Larry Mansdorf The latter LP says it’s the chain’s third selling album, not just seasonally, but overall, thanks to the chain carrying the album on green swirly vinyl.

Still, unless holiday-season album sales pick up, major labels could start trimming their offerings, said one catalog executive. About 2,300 holiday Christmas titles are still in print today, about 400 of which are also available in vinyl format, according to wholesalers.

“This year may be the year we look at the range of Christmas titles and see which ones are worth keeping on paper,” says a label executive.

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