It’s a well-known fact that the coronavirus pandemic has crippled industries across the board, from hospitality and retail to arts and music. While, with countless gigs cancelled across the world, the live music scene was the first to take a major hit during the outbreak, now album sales and overall music consumption have also gone into decline.
Analytics provider Alpha Data reported that, in the Week of March 13th – 19th, music streaming dropped 7.6% and album sales dropped a whopping 27.6%. All that amounted to the worst week for album sales in over 60 years.
Only 1.52 million albums sold in the U.S. last week, the lowest number on record since the album became a format in the mid-’60s. Thanks, coronavirus.
Alpha Data, the service that powers the Rolling Stone Charts, attributed the closure of restaurants, bars, and other non-essential outlets to the drop in engagement. They also noted that drops like this are usually only seen around holiday weeks focused on gatherings, like Christmas.
The closure of record stores and distributors across the globe, as non-essential services, has also resulted in physical album sales hitting an all-time low. Last week marked the first time in history that sales fell below 1 million in the Nielsen Music/MRC Data era.
Amazon’s corporate decision to stop stocking vinyl in favour of more “essential” albums and the further postponement of Record Store Day from April to June are also contributing factors to the decline in album sales.