Disc drive: Crunching the numbers on National Album Day

Disc drive: Crunching the numbers on National Album Day

Following the inaugural edition of National Album Day, the results are in on the sales and streaming impact - and they make interesting reading.

While physical retailers made hay with the initiative - hundreds of indie retailers and HMV branches got involved - it seems that streaming may have experienced a more noticeable boost

The effect of wall-to-wall media coverage across BBC Music radio channels may have played its part in driving up album streams for the chart week of National Album Day. According to the Official Charts Company, there were 998,939 album streams in week 42 - up from 986,332 in the previous week and from 960,207 a fortnight earlier.

A year-on-year comparison would be less helpful because of the ongoing growth in the streaming market in that period. But there are clear signs that the decision to make National Album Day agnostic - including streaming, CD, vinyl, download and in theory cassette - has paid off. Several streaming platforms were on board for the initiative, including Deezer, Spotify, Amazon Music and Apple Music.

Spotify has also shown its support for the album format as digital partner of the Hyundai Mercury Prize.

For sales across physical and download, the National Album Day (Saturday, October 13) tally was 130,177 - an increase on the previous Saturday’s (October 6) total of 126,357. However, the figure was lower than Saturday sales for September 29 and September 22. It was also well below the 160,000 albums sales total for Saturday, October 14, 2017, though no one seriously expected the initiative to completely reverse a steep annual decline in physical and download sales.

It seems to have connected with both the media and, more importantly, the public

Derek Allen

All albums sales for chart week 42 (Oct 13-19) were 674,319, which was actually down on the previous week’s 688,541.

But while there was a mixed picture from total weekly sales, which included retailers who didn't take part, participants in the event reported strong results. There are already calls for National Album Day to return.

“We thought it was a really good initiative – anything getting people talking about albums is a good thing for us as a physical retailer,” said John Hirst, HMV head of music.

While HMV was not banking on a commercial benefit, seven-day sales were up 11% week-on-week and 1% up year-on-year – a strong result in a challenging physical market.

“It seems to have been a roaring success for a year one project,” Hirst added.

Derek Allen, SVP, commercial, Warner Music, UK, reported a “positive” sales impact.

He said: “It seems to have connected with both the media and, more importantly, the public,” he said.

To read all of the National Album Day reaction pick up the latest issue - or subscribers can click here. To subscribe and never miss an industry story click here.


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