Country Album Sales Up 5.6 Percent for First Half of 2012

Lionel Richie, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan Have Top 10 Album Sales

Country album sales for the first half of 2012 increased by approximately 1 million units over those for the same period last year, according to a survey from Nielsen SoundScan, the company that tracks actual music sales in the U.S.

Country’s jump was from 18.4 million to 19.4 million copies, a 5.6 percent rise, higher than that of any other genre.

Overall album sales dipped from 221.3 million for this same period last year to 220.3 million this year. But overall music sales — which include albums, singles, music videos and digital tracks — jumped from 820.5 million to 853.2 million.

The period covered by this survey was from Jan. 2 to July 1, 2012.

Three country albums were in the Top 10 of sales among all monitored musical genres. They were Lionel Richie’s Tuskegee, an album that features Richie dueting with various country artists, Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away and Luke Bryan’s Tailgates & Tanlines.

Tuskegee sold 912,000 units to rank at No. 2, Blown Away moved 602,000 to seize the No. 6 spot, while Tailgates & Tanlines seized the No. 7 niche on sales of 575,000.

Tuskegee also captured the No. 8 spot in the number of digital albums sold: 214,000. No other country albums made the Top 10 in this category.

Digital sales of country tracks escalated from 73.6 million to 83.5 million.

No country singles made the Top 10 list of songs broadcast over radio or streamed during this period, Nielsen BDS reports.

Other musical genres that enjoyed increased album sales were jazz (up from 3.5 million to 3.6 million), metal (15.5 million to 16 million) and rock (49.5 million to 49.6 million).

Genres that suffered declines in sales were alternative (26.7 million to 25.1 million), Christian/gospel (10.7 million to 10.6 million), classical (3.7 million to 3 million), electronic/dance (5.2 million to 4.8 million), Latin (6.2 million to 5 million), rhythm & blues (26.6 million to 24.5 million) and rap (12.2 million to 11.4 million).

The Top 10 bestselling albums for this period were:

1. Adele, 21 (3,668,000 units)
2. Lionel Richie, Tuskegee (912,000)
3. One Direction, Up All Night (899,000)
4. Whitney Houston, Greatest Hits (818,000)
5. Multi-artist compilation, Now 41 (714,000)
6. Carrie Underwood, Blown Away (602,000)
7. Luke Bryan, Tailgates & Tanlines (575,000)
8. Nicki Minaj, Pink Friday, Roman Reloaded (557,000)
9. Drake, Take Care (549,000)
10. Adele, 19 (539,000)

The Top 10 songs broadcast on radio were:

1. Adele, “Set Fire to the Rain” (387,000 spins)
2. Kelly Clarkson, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (358,000)
3. Fun featuring Janelle Monae, “We Are Young” (352,000)
4. Gotye featuring Kimbra, “Somebody That I Used to Know” (345,000)
5. Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, “We Found Love” (343,000)
6. Wanted, “Glad You Came” (323,000)
7. Flo Rida, “Good Feeling” (306,000)
8. Bruno Mars, “It Will Rain” (291,000)
9. David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj, “Turn Me On” (274,000)
10. Flo Rida featuring Sia, “Wild One” (255,000)

The Top 10 streamed songs were:

1. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Call Me Maybe” (54.5 million streams)
2. Justin Bieber, “Boyfriend” (39.9 million)
3. Lil Wayne featuring Bruno Mars, “Mirror” (34.8 million)
4. David Guetta featuring Nicki Minaj, “Turn Me On” (33 million)
5. Katy Perry, “Part of Me” (32.6 million)
6. LMFAO, “Party Rock Anthem” (31.6 million)
7. Rihanna featuring Calvin Harris, “We Found Love” (30.5 million)
8. Wanted, “Glad You Came” (29.1 million)
9. Nicki Minaj, “Stupid Stupid” (28.9 million)
10. LMFAO featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock, “Sexy and I Know It” (27.7 million)

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to