There’s a lot of chatter out there about the transformation of the music industry, with the rise of online music services such as Spotify and Pandora altering the landscape. And while many are bemoaning the changes, music sales continue to go up, buoyed in part by strong performances by female artists such as Taylor Swift, Adele and Katy Perry.
According to Nielsen and Billboard’s 2012 Music Industry report, music purchases are at record highs, driven largely by digital album sales. Those sales of jumped 14 percent, while digital track sales rose five percent. CD sales sunk 13 percent.
Adele’s 21 led the digital charts with 12.8 million tracks and digital albums sold in the U.S. last year. Interestingly, the British pop star didn’t have one of the top 10 digital songs of the year. Nonetheless, 21 marks the first time that an album has held the top spot for two consecutive years.
“Overall music purchases surpassed 1.65 billion units in 2012, up 3.1% vs. the previous record high set in 2011, driven by digital music sales, which continue (to) be a key growth element within the market” said Nielsen’s David Bakula.
Interestingly, Adele isn’t quite as popular on the streaming music services such as Rhapsody, Slacker, Spotify and Rdio, as this chart shows.
Here’s a look at some of the charts in terms of digital sales and how they compare to old-school vinyl: