Album sales slump - singles and DVDs increase

The August sales figures indicate a slump in album sales while singles and DVDs are shifted in record numbers.

Kurt Nilsen - Idol winner and chart topper

The August figures from the Association of Norwegian Record Distributors show that the total sales of singles has grown a staggering 52% since August 2002. A welcome trend is the fact that sales of domestic singles account for the majority of the increased sales. August 2002 saw 9000 domestic singles shifted, while the 2003 figures are far more uplifting: 66000 units shifted!

Strong sales of music DVDs is another factor that describes the August sales. Compared to 2002, DVD sales are up 57%.

The total sales of phonograms show a decline compared to last year that amounts to 15% in volume and 14% in value. Sales of CD albums are down 20% in volume and 15% in value compared to 2002.

The total accumulated 2003 sales of phonograms amount to 6,9 million albums and 734 000 singles sold resulting in a total turnover of NOK 478 million (USD 65 mill./ € 57,7 mill.). This makes for a total decline of 3% in volume and 6% in value compared to 2002.

The low album sales figures versus the strong singles sales can be attributed to a number of factors. Given the summer holiday seasons, few central albums saw their release early in August, thus reducing the impact on the month’s statistics. The strong singles sales must be viewed in connection with the “Idol” phenomena. The talent contest which has seen hundreds of thousands tune in to the TV2 network to vote for their favourite idol-to-be, could prove to be a gold mine for BMG Norway which holds the recording rights to the contestants future releases. The Idol winner Kurt Nilsen broke all previous singles sales records with his “She’s so high” tune, and his recently released album “I” has, despite modest reviews, entered the charts at the top spot.

With Lene Marlin’s second album “Another Day” hitting the store shelves next Monday, September’s album sales are expected to be far stronger than the August figures.

This week’s official national sales chart, the VG lista Topp 40, shows that Idol-winner Kurt Nielsen is holding the record buying public in a firm grasp. A far more surprising act is following him on the second spot. Black Metallers Dimmu Borgir are experiencing historically strong sales for a genre that traditionally has been associated with underground status. Sales are boosted by the first-ever TV commercial promoting a black-metal band on national networks, and the band is currently on a domestic tour that is likely to score new fans for the darkly clad outfit. Dimmu Borgir follow up on Satyricon’s strong 2002 sales and reviews, lifting the black-metal genre out of its underground sanctuary and into the maelstrom of the mainstream.

Other newcomers include acclaimed hip-hoppers Paperboys with their second album “The Great Escape” (No 7), long-time retro favourites Big Bang with their double live-album “Radio radio TV sleep” (No 5) and stylistic strong outfit King Midas with their acclaimed third album “Romeo Turn” (No 15).

Market shares August 2003:

Universal 23,2% (+8,5%)
EMI Recorded Music 23,1% (-3,5%)
Sony 12,9% (+0,1%)
Warner 10% (-2,3%)
BMG 9,8% (+0,0%)
Tuba 4,4% (+1%)
Playground 4,0% (+2,3%)
Master Music/Naxos 3,1% (+0,4%)
VME 2,2% (-4,2%)
Bonnier Amigo 2,1% (-0,1%)
KKV 1,5% (+1,0%)
Bare Bra Musikk 1,1% (-2,3%)
Tylden 1,0% (-0,5%)
Other 1,4% (-0,5%)

The total turnover in August amounted to NOK 53,5 million.

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