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Q: music sales ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: music sales
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Music
Asked by: buckinghammike-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 09 Feb 2005 11:15 PST
Expires: 11 Mar 2005 11:15 PST
Question ID: 471831
What were the10 best-selling records last year? How many people bought
them? What percentage of total sales did those albums represent? I
only need to know U.S. sales

Request for Question Clarification by markj-ga on 09 Feb 2005 12:13 PST
buckinghammike --

I can give you precise and authoritative information that combines US
and Canadian sales.  Will that suffice?

Subject: Re: music sales
Answered By: markj-ga on 09 Feb 2005 13:12 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
buckinghammike --

When I posted my clarification request, I believed that the data I had
found combined US and Canada sales.  However, based on reviewing some
other sources, I now believe (in part because the New York Time says
so!) that the data in US-only.

U.S. sales of all CD albums in 2004 totaled 666,700,000.
"Some 666.7 million albums were sold in 2004, compared to 656.2 million in 2003." Album sales up for first time since 2000 (AP story, 1/6/05

U.S. sales of these top ten best-selling albums in the U.S. in 2004
totalled 34,588,674:
1. "Confessions," Usher: 7,978,594 
2. "Feels Like Home," Norah Jones: 3,842,920 
3. "Encore," Eminem: 3,517,097 
4. "When The Sun Goes Down," Kenny Chesney: 3,072,224 
5. "Here for the Party," Gretchen Wilson: 2,931,097 
6. "Live Like You Were Dying," Tim McGraw: 2,786,840 
7. "Songs About Jane," Maroon 5: 2,708,415 
8. "Fallen," Evanesence: 2,614,226 
9. "Autobiography," Ashlee Simpson: 2,576,945 
10. "Now 16: Now That's What I Call Music!": 2,560,316

Source: (see above)

The percentage of total U.S. sales represented by the top-ten
best-selling albums was 5.2 percent.

Source:  I computed the percentage by adding up the total sales of the
top ten albums, dividing that total by the overall sales figure, and
converting the result to a percentage.

Additional Information:

The data was compiled by Nielsen SoundScan, a unit of Nielsen Media
Research.  Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen Media Research in general
collect data for and from both U.S. and Canada.  Since the AP story
that was published or excerpted by news media around the country did
not always include information as to whether the quoted numbers were
U.S.-only or U.S. totals combined with totals for the much, much
smaller Canadian market, I was initially unsure about the scope of the

I then discovered that those articles that did refer to the scope of
the data said it was U.S. data.  For example:

"Sales of recorded music in the United States are on the rise for the
first time in four years. The recording industry registered sales of
about 667 million albums, an increase of about 1.6 percent, according
to year-end data expected to be released today by the market research
firm Nielsen SoundScan."

New York Times: Album Sales Expected to Show 1.6% Rise (1/5/05)

However, even if the AP and the New York Times are wrong about the
scope of the data and Canadian sales were included, you would still
have an "apples-to-apples" comparison between the top-ten sales and
the total sales that should be useful to you, especially since the
Canadian market is so much smaller that the U.S. market.

Search Strategy:

I used several increasingly targeted Google searches to find the
information and confirm its accuracy.  These included, among many

"top ten" sales CDs OR albums "in 2004"

total cd OR album sales 2004

usher 7978594

"nielsen soundscan" "667 million"

I am confident that this is the information you are looking for.  If
anything is unclear, please ask for clarification before rating the

buckinghammike-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Thank you, Mark. I would have expected the number to be higher but
clearly your research was thorough. Thanks for the fast response.
Excellent work.

Subject: Re: music sales
From: markj-ga on 09 Feb 2005 14:44 PST
buckinghammike --

Thanks for the kind words and the five stars.


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