IMage via WV Record

IMage via WV Record

The past week’s album sales in the U.S. were the lowest they’ve been since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. With 3.97 million albums sold, it is also the first time weekly albums sales have dropped below 4 million in over 20 years.

The highest selling album was Wiz Khalifa’s Blacc Hollywood which debuted with 90, 000 copies sold, a far cry from some of the year’s biggest first week sales from the likes of Ed Sheeran’s X (210, 000) or Coldplay’s Ghost Stories (383, 000).

This new low in weekly sales shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, as it reflects an ongoing trend. In 2013, average weekly album sales dropped each quarter, with Q1 averaging 5.7 million, Q2 5.23 million, and Q3 dropping to 4.86 million. This has continued into 2014, with the Q1 weekly average of 4.75 million decreasing to 4.55 million in Q2.

Digital music sales went down for the first time in 2013, and that’s likely to be repeated this year, with digital album sales are down 11.7 percent and track sales down 12.8 percent so far.

Why is this happening? Well, the seemingly unstoppable rise of streaming services is the major factor and of course piracy and illegal downloading play their part. It is certainly an interesting time for the music industry, with labels and artists being forced to fond new ways to make money, and streaming services like Spotify, not to mention platforms like Soundcloud, seemingly holding more and more power.

Do you still buy albums?What would encourage you to buy an album rather than streaming or illegally downloading it?