Who's #1? Taylor Swift And 'Frozen' Vie For 2014's Best-Selling Album
January 5, 2015 at 8:06 AM (PT)
Who had the best-selling album of 2014? TAYLOR SWIFT or DISNEY's "Frozen" soundtrack?
Well, that all depends what accounting system you're using.
If only there were a playoff system available, like in college football, where one, true winner can be determined on the field, but that's not the case in the increasingly thorny world of counting album sales, according to an article in yesterday's NEW YORK TIMES.
Based on the traditional NIELSEN SOUNDSCAN sales model, TAYLOR SWIFT’s “1989,” which sold 3.66 million copies in the U.S. as a physical CD and digital download, narrowly edged out DISNEY’s “Frozen” soundtrack, which moved 3.53 million copies.
But incorporating streaming services like SPOTIFY and YOUTUBE, a new method adopted by SOUNDSCAN late last year, "Frozen" sold 4.47 million "album equivalent units," which adds in streams and downloads of individual songs in addition to traditional album sales. By this method, “1989” — which was famously pulled off free streaming services like SPOTIFY by SWIFT — came in at 4.40 million.
The fact these competing methodologies yielded two different best-selling albums shows the music industry is undergoing a major sea change, with the freemium streaming model under attack for its financial viability moving forward, even as there was a 54.5% increase in streaming, with a corresponding drop-off in downloads.
With YOUTUBE introducing a new paid music subscription plan, and APPLE trying to incorporate its recently acquired BEATS MUSIC into its iTUNES store, competition in this area is only going to get more heated.