By Anam Baig
Ladies and gentlemen, the numbers are in. Topping the charts in this mid-year music report is (surprise, surprise) Pharrell Williams’ “Happy”, which has reached half the world’s population in merely six months with 571,000 plays on terrestrial radio.
Billboard and Nielsen have released their joint mid-year report, which tabulates radio, streaming and sales numbers for the year so far — from individual songs to albums of all formats.
Following in close second behind Pharrell’s “Happy” with 550,000 plays is John Legend’s “All of Me”, reaching 3.2 billion people compared to Williams’ 3.3 billion reach. Three other hit songs in “Dark Horse,” “Team” and “Counting Stars” — all songs that, like “Happy” and “All of Me,” came out in 2013 — rounded out the top five.
Meanwhile, as expected, the top album of 2014 is still the soundtrack to Frozen, which has been spurned on by monstrous ticket and DVD sales and a hit single in “Let It Go.” The album has moved 2.7 million units this year.
The rest of the report was full of some expected data (CD sale death) and some not-so expected data, like the 40.2 percent increase in vinyl sales.
The spike in physical music media probably has a lot to do with the fact that Jack White’s album Lazaretto sold nearly 40,000 vinyl copies on the first week of its release, shattering the previous record set by Pearl Jam in 1994.
According to the report, the music industry’s sales are seeing a bit of a downturn, with overall album sales, including physical and digital media, decreasing by 14.9 percent, with digital album sales down 11.6 percent.
However, streaming music is all the rage with 70.3 billion streams of audio and video, audio making up 50.1 percent of that figure. This may have caused the 13 percent drop in digital downloads, supposedly the forte of Apple, who recently acquired Beats for $500 million.
Overall, the report shows that music consumers would rather stream music than buy the digital copy and continue to revert to vinyl.