GITNUX REPORT 2024

CD Sales Statistics: US Revenues Surge After Decades-Long Decline

After a dramatic decline, US CD sales surged in 2021, but challenges remain for physical media.

Author: Jannik Lindner

First published: 7/17/2024

Statistic 1

Japan accounted for 70% of global CD sales in 2020

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CD sales in Germany increased by 3.4% in 2021

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CD sales in South Korea grew by 9% in 2020

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CD sales in France decreased by 10.5% in 2020

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CD sales in Australia dropped by 31% in 2019

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CD sales in Canada decreased by 26% in 2019

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CD sales in Italy dropped by 6% in 2020

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CD sales in Spain decreased by 22.5% in 2020

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CD sales in Sweden dropped by 40% in 2019

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CD sales in the Netherlands decreased by 28.9% in 2020

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CD sales in Norway dropped by 26% in 2019

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CD sales in Finland decreased by 20.3% in 2020

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CD sales in Denmark dropped by 35% in 2019

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CD sales in Belgium decreased by 18.5% in 2020

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CD sales in Switzerland dropped by 20.7% in 2019

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In 2000, 943 million CDs were sold in the US

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The first commercial CD was released in 1982

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The first CD to sell a million copies was 'Brothers in Arms' by Dire Straits

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The first CD player cost $1,000 in 1982

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The first car with a built-in CD player was introduced in 1985

Statistic 21

The first CD manufactured for commercial release was ABBA's 'The Visitors'

Statistic 22

The first CD pressed in the United States was Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the U.S.A.'

Statistic 23

The CD was jointly developed by Philips and Sony

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Adele's '30' sold over 898,000 CDs in its first week in the US

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Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' sold 395,000 CDs in its first week

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The Eagles' 'Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975' is the best-selling CD of all time

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BTS's 'Map of the Soul: 7' was the best-selling CD of 2020 globally

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Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' is the best-selling CD of the 20th century

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Adele's '25' was the best-selling CD of 2015 globally

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Ed Sheeran's '÷' (Divide) was the best-selling CD of 2017 globally

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Taylor Swift's '1989' was the best-selling CD of 2014 in the US

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The average price of a CD in the US was $13.29 in 2020

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The average CD manufacturing cost is around $1 to $2

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The average CD manufacturing time is about 2-3 weeks

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The average lifespan of a CD is estimated to be 25-200 years

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The standard CD can hold up to 74 minutes of audio

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A standard CD can store about 700 MB of data

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The typical weight of a CD is about 16 grams

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A CD's playback surface is read from the inside out

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Best Buy stopped selling CDs in its stores in 2018

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Target reduced its CD inventory by 20% in 2019

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Walmart reduced its CD floor space by 40% in 2018

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Amazon reduced its CD inventory by 25% in 2019

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HMV, a major CD retailer in the UK, closed 27 stores in 2019

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Tower Records, a major CD retailer, filed for bankruptcy in 2006

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Virgin Megastores closed all its US stores in 2009, impacting CD sales

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CD sales revenue in the US was $483.3 million in 2020

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In 2019, CDs accounted for 0.8% of total US recorded music revenues

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In 2021, CD sales revenue in the US was $584.2 million

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In 2020, CDs accounted for 4% of total US recorded music revenues

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In 2018, CD sales revenue in the US was $698.4 million

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In 2016, CD sales revenue in the US was $1.2 billion

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In 2014, CD sales revenue in the US was $1.85 billion

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In 2012, CD sales revenue in the US was $2.8 billion

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CD sales in the US dropped by 97% from 2000 to 2020

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In 2021, CD sales increased by 47.7% in the US

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CD sales in the UK fell by 28% in 2019

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In 2021, 46.6 million CDs were shipped in the US

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In 2020, 31.6 million CDs were shipped in the US

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In 2019, 54.2 million CDs were shipped in the US

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In 2017, 87.7 million CDs were shipped in the US

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In 2015, 125.6 million CDs were shipped in the US

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In 2013, 165.4 million CDs were shipped in the US

Statistic 64

In 2011, 240.8 million CDs were shipped in the US

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Summary

  • CD sales in the US dropped by 97% from 2000 to 2020
  • In 2021, CD sales increased by 47.7% in the US
  • Best Buy stopped selling CDs in its stores in 2018
  • Japan accounted for 70% of global CD sales in 2020
  • CD sales in the UK fell by 28% in 2019
  • Adele's '30' sold over 898,000 CDs in its first week in the US
  • The average price of a CD in the US was $13.29 in 2020
  • CD sales revenue in the US was $483.3 million in 2020
  • In 2000, 943 million CDs were sold in the US
  • Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' sold 395,000 CDs in its first week
  • CD sales in Germany increased by 3.4% in 2021
  • The first commercial CD was released in 1982
  • In 2021, 46.6 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • CD sales in South Korea grew by 9% in 2020
  • The average CD manufacturing cost is around $1 to $2

Move over, dinosaurs; theres a new relic in town - the CD. With sales dropping faster than a lead balloon from 2000 to 2020, it seemed like the compact disc was heading for extinction quicker than you can say skip track. But hold on to your Walkmans, because in 2021, CDs staged a comeback like a phoenix rising from the ashes, with a whopping 47.7% increase in the US. From Best Buy bidding them adieu to Japan hoarding 70% of global sales, these shiny discs are proving theyre not ready to spin out of the music scene just yet. So grab your Discman, pop in your favorite CD (if you can find one), and lets dive into the tale of the rise, fall, and potential revival of the humble compact disc.

Global Market

  • Japan accounted for 70% of global CD sales in 2020
  • CD sales in Germany increased by 3.4% in 2021
  • CD sales in South Korea grew by 9% in 2020
  • CD sales in France decreased by 10.5% in 2020
  • CD sales in Australia dropped by 31% in 2019
  • CD sales in Canada decreased by 26% in 2019
  • CD sales in Italy dropped by 6% in 2020
  • CD sales in Spain decreased by 22.5% in 2020
  • CD sales in Sweden dropped by 40% in 2019
  • CD sales in the Netherlands decreased by 28.9% in 2020
  • CD sales in Norway dropped by 26% in 2019
  • CD sales in Finland decreased by 20.3% in 2020
  • CD sales in Denmark dropped by 35% in 2019
  • CD sales in Belgium decreased by 18.5% in 2020
  • CD sales in Switzerland dropped by 20.7% in 2019

Interpretation

The global CD sales landscape seems to be singing a diverse tune, with Japan leading the pack as the reigning champion of CDs, proving that the land of the rising sun still holds a soft spot for physical music. Meanwhile, Germany is grooving to a positive beat with an increase in sales, showing that the classics never go out of style. On the flip side, some countries are hitting a sour note, with sharp declines in CD sales indicating a changing melody in consumer preferences. As the digital era continues to crescendo, will the CD be relegated to a nostalgic melody of the past or will it find a way to harmonize with the modern music industry? Only time will tell.

Historical Data

  • In 2000, 943 million CDs were sold in the US
  • The first commercial CD was released in 1982
  • The first CD to sell a million copies was 'Brothers in Arms' by Dire Straits
  • The first CD player cost $1,000 in 1982
  • The first car with a built-in CD player was introduced in 1985
  • The first CD manufactured for commercial release was ABBA's 'The Visitors'
  • The first CD pressed in the United States was Bruce Springsteen's 'Born in the U.S.A.'
  • The CD was jointly developed by Philips and Sony

Interpretation

In a tumultuous journey from the shiny beginnings of the compact disc to the digitized world we now inhabit, the statistics speak volumes. From humble origins in the early 1980s when the first CD player cost a princely sum, to the meteoric rise of the format with hit albums like 'Brothers in Arms' and 'The Visitors', and finally culminating in the boom of 943 million CDs sold in the US in 2000, the CD has woven its tracks through our cultural tapestry. As music lovers danced to the beat of Dire Straits and belted out ABBA hits, the CD became not just a technological marvel but a timeless vessel of art and memory. And so, as we reflect on these milestones, we can't help but appreciate the harmonious union of innovation and nostalgia that the CD embodies, continuing to spin its way into our hearts.

Notable Releases

  • Adele's '30' sold over 898,000 CDs in its first week in the US
  • Taylor Swift's 'Midnights' sold 395,000 CDs in its first week
  • The Eagles' 'Their Greatest Hits 1971-1975' is the best-selling CD of all time
  • BTS's 'Map of the Soul: 7' was the best-selling CD of 2020 globally
  • Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' is the best-selling CD of the 20th century
  • Adele's '25' was the best-selling CD of 2015 globally
  • Ed Sheeran's '÷' (Divide) was the best-selling CD of 2017 globally
  • Taylor Swift's '1989' was the best-selling CD of 2014 in the US

Interpretation

In the world of CD sales, the numbers don't lie, but they sure do have a favorite few on repeat. From Adele belting out chart-toppers faster than we can count the digits, to Taylor Swift quietly owning the midnight airwaves, it's the Eagles who soar above them all with a timeless collection that refuses to budge from the top spot. Meanwhile, BTS strutted into 2020 with a global domination that had fans dancing in harmony worldwide. Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' threw the ultimate dance party of the 20th century, and Ed Sheeran's math skills added up to more than just 'Divide,' while Taylor Swift keeps rewinding to '1989,' proving that even in the age of digital streams, a CD can still make some serious noise.

Pricing

  • The average price of a CD in the US was $13.29 in 2020
  • The average CD manufacturing cost is around $1 to $2

Interpretation

The CD sales industry seems to be hitting a high note financially, with an average selling price of $13.29 per disc in the US in 2020. While music lovers may be harmoniously grabbing their favorite albums off the shelves, it’s worth noting that the average manufacturing cost of a CD is just a fraction of that price – hovering between $1 to $2. It appears that in this melodious game of supply and demand, the tune playing may be one of profit for the industry players. As consumers dance to the beat of their favorite tracks, one can’t help but wonder who’s truly calling the shots in this symphony of commerce.

Production

  • The average CD manufacturing time is about 2-3 weeks
  • The average lifespan of a CD is estimated to be 25-200 years
  • The standard CD can hold up to 74 minutes of audio
  • A standard CD can store about 700 MB of data
  • The typical weight of a CD is about 16 grams
  • A CD's playback surface is read from the inside out

Interpretation

In a world where trends come and go faster than you can say "skip track," the timeless CD stands as a stoic reminder of endurance. From its modest 16-gram physique to its potential 200-year lifespan, the CD embraces both the fleeting and the lasting. Its 74-minute capacity hints at meticulous planning, while its inside-out reading method symbolizes depth in the superficial. In a society obsessed with instant gratification, the CD whispers a melody of patience and longevity, daring us to slow down and appreciate the endurance of a medium that refuses to be skipped over.

Retail Changes

  • Best Buy stopped selling CDs in its stores in 2018
  • Target reduced its CD inventory by 20% in 2019
  • Walmart reduced its CD floor space by 40% in 2018
  • Amazon reduced its CD inventory by 25% in 2019
  • HMV, a major CD retailer in the UK, closed 27 stores in 2019
  • Tower Records, a major CD retailer, filed for bankruptcy in 2006
  • Virgin Megastores closed all its US stores in 2009, impacting CD sales

Interpretation

The decline of compact disc sales seems to be writing its own sad song, with retailers like Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Amazon hitting the pause button on their CD offerings. It's a tale as old as time, with HMV and Tower Records fading out like the last chords of a ballad. Virgin Megastores' US stores closing in 2009 was the final note in this symphony of changing consumer habits. As streaming services hit play on the future of music consumption, it seems the CD aisle is becoming a ghost town in the retail music landscape.

Sales Revenue

  • CD sales revenue in the US was $483.3 million in 2020
  • In 2019, CDs accounted for 0.8% of total US recorded music revenues
  • In 2021, CD sales revenue in the US was $584.2 million
  • In 2020, CDs accounted for 4% of total US recorded music revenues
  • In 2018, CD sales revenue in the US was $698.4 million
  • In 2016, CD sales revenue in the US was $1.2 billion
  • In 2014, CD sales revenue in the US was $1.85 billion
  • In 2012, CD sales revenue in the US was $2.8 billion

Interpretation

The rise and fall of CD sales in the US is akin to a dramatic roller coaster ride, with its peak cresting in 2012 at a staggering $2.8 billion and its dwindling descent reaching $483.3 million in 2020. It seems the once mighty Compact Disc has shifted from being a music industry heavyweight to a nostalgic relic in the digital age. However, its recent uptick in revenue in 2021 to $584.2 million shows that perhaps the CD still has a few tracks left to play in the ever-evolving symphony of music consumption.

Sales Trends

  • CD sales in the US dropped by 97% from 2000 to 2020
  • In 2021, CD sales increased by 47.7% in the US
  • CD sales in the UK fell by 28% in 2019

Interpretation

The rollercoaster ride of CD sales in the music industry is truly a tale of two hemispheres. While the US saw an impressive 47.7% surge in 2021, a remarkable comeback reminiscent of a pop star's chart-topping return, the UK experienced a harsh decline in 2019, as if it had stumbled on a musical misstep. The staggering 97% drop in CD sales from 2000 to 2020 in the US echoes the nostalgic sound of a scratched disc, a reminder of a bygone era now overshadowed by the digital symphony of streaming platforms. Amidst these ups and downs, one thing remains clear - the melody of physical music formats seems to be fading into the background, as listeners tune into the convenience and accessibility of the digital age.

Sales Volume

  • In 2021, 46.6 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • In 2020, 31.6 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • In 2019, 54.2 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • In 2017, 87.7 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • In 2015, 125.6 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • In 2013, 165.4 million CDs were shipped in the US
  • In 2011, 240.8 million CDs were shipped in the US

Interpretation

The fluctuating trends in compact disc sales in the US over the past decade resemble a rollercoaster ride that seems to be approaching its final loop. From the lofty heights of 240.8 million CDs shipped in 2011 to the drastic drop to 46.6 million in 2021, it's clear that the era of CDs is on a swift decline. Like a forgotten pop star making a comeback on a reality TV show, CDs are still hanging on, but their glory days are but a distant memory. Perhaps they will find a niche audience in the vintage collectors' market, alongside scrunchies and Tamagotchis.

References