Album sales in the United States have been tanking for more than a decade. But streaming could be putting the final nails in this coffin.
Drake’s Scorpion set streaming records that will be hard to beat. But this week, there’s a strange record being set in the opposite direction.
Ahead of the weekend, Nielsen Music reported that Drake’s latest album Scorpion is at the top of the charts for the second week in a row. But only 29,000 copies were sold in the week of July 12th. Nielsen says this is the smallest amount of sales for a top-selling album since the metrics company began tracking music sales in 1991, more than 27 years ago.
Compounding this fact is that the Billboard 200 chart ranks popular albums based on multiple different metrics. Traditional sales, streaming, and individual track downloads are all combined to rank albums each week according to a complex formula.
That complex formula is an attempt by Nielsen (and Billboard) to prop the album format at any cost. But despite throwing streams, downloads, and traditional album sales into one pot, it doesn’t seem to be saving this aging format. So what’s the point, exactly?