But things started to slip after 2000 and especially after 2004. On April 29, 2007, weekly album sales dropped below 8 million for the first time. On Jan. 20, 2008, sales dropped below 7 million for the first time. On Jan. 18, 2009, sales dropped below 6 million for the first time. As noted above, on May 30, 2010, sales dropped below 5 million for the first time.
Will weekly album sales drop below 4 million at some point in the near future? One would like to say no, but the trend line speaks for itself. It probably won't happen this year. Sales traditionally pick up as we head into the holidays. The week before Christmas (or in some cases the week that contains Christmas) is always the busiest sales week of the year for album sales.Josh Groban's smash album Noel, which was #1 that week). In the week before Christmas 2008, they fell to 17,164,000. In Christmas week 2009, they dipped just slightly to 17,142,000.
There's another way of documenting declining album sales. Four of this week's top 10 albums sold fewer than 30,000 copies. Two weeks ago, a record five of the top 10 sold fewer than 30K. This also marks a change from historical patterns. From the start of the Nielsen/SoundScan era through Sept. 2, 2007, no albums made the top 10 with weekly sales of fewer than 30,000 copies. That unhappy milestone was reached on Sept. 9, 2007, when Linkin Park's Minutes To Midnight made the top 10 with sales of just 28,000.Ke$ha's Animal made the top 10 with sales of just 20,000, an all-time low for the Nielsen/SoundScan era. Kem's Intimacy, Iron Maiden's The Final Frontier and Ray LaMontagne's God Willin' & the Creek Don't Rise. By contrast, this week's top debut, the soundtrack to the Disney Channel's upcoming Camp Rock 3, sold a so-so 41,000 copies.
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