Rod Stewart & Jools Holland lead physical sales in Q1 amid signs of a CD revival

Rod Stewart & Jools Holland lead physical sales in Q1 amid signs of a CD revival

Rod Stewart & Jools Holland finished at No.1 with Swing Fever for physical sales in the first quarter of the year, Music Week can reveal.

According to figures from the Official Charts Company, the veterans’ collaborative album finished ahead of Liam Gallagher & John Squire’s LP in terms of overall sales for physical formats.

Swing Fever (East West/Rhino) amassed 42,773 physical sales in Q1, just ahead of the self-titled album from Liam Gallagher & John Squire (42,239). The Swing Fever LP has total sales to date across both pure sales and streams of 48,814.

The key element for Swing Fever’s Q1 success was the CD edition with 39,442 sales on the format in the first quarter, which is on a par with Pink’s Trustfall LP in Q1 2023 for compact disc sales. 

It comes amid signs of a CD revival after years of decline for the format. According to the Q1 market figures from the BPI, CD sales were down 2.3% year-on-year, but that was a much slower rate of decline than the 11% fall in Q1 2023. 

Kim Bayley, CEO of digital entertainment and retail advocacy association ERA, said: “There’s definitely something happening with CD. Compared with its glory days, CD is clearly much diminished, but there are lessons to be learned from vinyl. The industry can be too quick to write off older formats and the excitement of embracing the new can sometimes blind us to the benefits of the established.
“A recent trend is that our members are reporting that amid the cost of living crisis, increasing numbers of younger people are opting for CD as a value for money alternative to vinyl."

Speaking this week, BPI CEO Dr Jo Twist said: “At the moment, CD is only marginally down on the year, and we could be looking at a situation come year-end where the BPI reports on the first growth in the physical market overall since 2004.” 

Warner Music had the Top 3 sellers on CD in Q1 with Rod Stewart & Jools Holland at No.1, Liam Gallagher & John Squire in second place (21,182 CD sales) and Green Day’s Saviors at No.3 (20,803 CD sales). Liam Gallagher & John Squire had the biggest seller on vinyl in the quarter (21,058).

Speaking about the sales performance for Rod Stewart & Jools Holland, Julie Eldridge, Warner Music director of artist projects, said: “Swing Fever is a gloriously joyful album. The energy and fun Rod and Jools brought to the whole campaign really connected with their audience. The album was announced with a surprise performance at St Pancras station and that moment really set the tone of everything to come. 

“Album sales were driven by multiple fan events, a solid promo plot, releasing multiple formats and some great press.”

The energy and fun Rod Stewart and Jools Holland brought to the whole campaign really connected with their audience

Julie Eldridge

After debuting at the summit with sales of 23,950 sales (19,906 CDs, 1,783 vinyl, 123 cassettes, 1,622 digital downloads and 516 sales-equivalent streams), Swing Fever spent three weeks in the Top 10. With a strong second week, it added a further 12,402 sales.

Speaking to Music Week recently about the 13-track celebration of the big band era, Rod Stewart said: “Obviously, we want it to sell, otherwise we wouldn't have made it. We want to get some of the younger generation involved in it, because I did the Great American Songbook and this is almost a follow-on."

Stewart has been a strong chart performer with Warner Music in recent years, starting with 2019 Christmas No.1 album You’re In My Heart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (312,370 sales to date, including 286,177 physical copies). 

Swing Fever is Stewart’s 11th No.1 album in a chart-topping career in the UK that spans 53 years. The new album with Jools Holland has also charted across Europe with plenty of opportunities for the Warner Music team to collaborate closely with local markets.

Alejandra Maxwell, junior international marketing manager, said: “When we delivered the final album to international markets, there was a palpable excitement around this release. 

“Both artists were very proactive and eager to share the story behind the album. In the process, they covered key interviews across all territories including a stellar performance on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and an exclusive interview on CBS Sunday Morning. Alongside promotional efforts, there was a significant push on the vinyl product, all of which led to some great chart results including Top 5 positions across Europe.”

In the past week, Warner Music’s ADA has had strong physical sales with The K’s debut album I Wonder If The World Knows, while The Libertines were heading for No.1 with physical sales of more than 17,500 for All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade (EMI), according to the latest Midweek sales. Both albums performed well on both CD and vinyl.

With the buzz around superfans and big upcoming releases from acts including Taylor Swift, Billie Eilish and Dua Lipa, there’s an opportunity for CD to gain momentum in Q2. 

ERA recently reported the first revenue increase for the format in 20 years, partly as a result of inflation but also down to the fact that the decline in unit sales has slowed and fans are embracing multiple formats and deluxe editions. CD has also been an alternative option for fans as prices of vinyl releases increase.

Kim Bayley added: “CD is still the highest quality mainstream digital music format available and that resonates with a lot of people. My greatest fear is that the industry pulls the plug on CD releases – if our members can’t sell them, music fans won’t be able to buy them and that’s in nobody’s interest.”

Globally, IFPI reported a 13.4% increase in physical music revenue in 2023.

PHOTO: Jonas Mohr


Swing Fever

Chart Position: No.1

Label: Warner Records

TEAM Rod Stewart & Jools Holland

Management: Jools Holland Management – Paul Loasby and Elena Bello for One Fifteen 

Director Of Artist Projects: Julie Eldridge (Warner Music UK)

Junior International Marketing Manager: Alejandra Maxwell (Warner Music UK)

VP, International Marketing: Liberty Wilson (Warner Music UK)

SVP. International Marketing: Victor Aroldoss (Warner Music UK)

Marketing Manager: Mhairi Sedgwick (Warner Music UK)

Marketing Coordinator: Hanna Bassil (Warner Music UK)

Press & TV: Moira Bellas (MBC PR)

Radio: Alex Alexandrou (NoBul Promotions) 

Social Media Management & Content Creation: Be-Hookd

VP Legal & Business Affairs: Robyn Bradshaw (Warner Music UK)

Creative Production Assistant: George Ireland (Warner Music UK)

Director of Artist Relations & Events: Suzanne Murray (Warner Music UK)



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