Thursday, January 4, 2018

Music: Sheeran's "Divide" Adds Up to Top Billboard Chart for 2017

Ed Sheeran's ÷ (pronounced Divide) finishes 2017 as the most popular album of the year in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music. The data tracking company reports the title earned 2.764 million equivalent album units during the year, with 1.1 million of that sum coming from traditional album sales. A year ago, Drake’s Views was named Nielsen’s top album of 2016.
÷’s 2.764 million equivalent album units figure is a multi-metric consumption total, which includes traditional album sales, track equivalent albums (TEA) and on-demand audio streaming equivalent albums (SEA). The multi-metric formula is also used to compile the weekly Billboard 200 albums chart, which ranks the most popular albums of the week in the U.S.
Nielsen Music’s 2017 tracking year ran from Dec. 30, 2016 through Dec. 28, 2017. Numbers in this story are rounded. Nielsen Music began electronically tracking music sales and data in 1991 (so a reference in this story to the “Nielsen era” means from 1991 to the present).
÷ ruled the weekly Billboard 200 chart for two weeks, and has yet to leave the top 20 of the tally after 43 weeks on the list (through the chart dated Jan. 6). The set launched three top 10 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 songs chart, including a pair of No. 1s: Sheeran’s first leader, “Shape of You,” and his second, “Perfect,” with Beyoncé. The album also notched the No. 6-peaking “Castle on the Hill.”
RankArtist, TitleTotal UnitsAlbum SalesTEA UnitsSEA Units
1Ed Sheeran, ÷ (Divide)2,764,0001,102,000581,0001,081,000
2Kendrick Lamar, DAMN.2,747,000910,000217,0001,620,000
3Taylor Swift, Reputation2,336,0001,903,000153,000280,000
4Drake, More Life2,227,000363,000149,0001,715,000
5Bruno Mars, 24K Magic1,626,000710,000320,000597,000
6Post Malone, Stoney1,564,000128,000174,0001,262,000
7Migos, Culture1,438,000134,000156,0001,149,000
8The Weeknd, Starboy1,408,000275,000189,000945,000
9Soundtrack, Moana1,254,000709,000197,000348,000
10Khalid, American Teen1,220,000147,000124,000950,000
Source: Nielsen Music, for the tracking period Dec. 30, 2016 through Dec. 28, 2017. 

Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. closes out 2017 as the No. 2 most popular album of the year, with 2.747 million units (910,000 in pure album sales). Following DAMN. on the year-end 2017 tally are Taylor Swift’s Reputation (2.336 million units), Drake’s More Life (2.227 million) and Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic (1.626 million).
OVERALL MUSIC CONSUMPTION CLIMBS: Total music consumption in 2017 climbed 12.5 percent to 636.65 million units (up from 566.1 million). That figure adds together traditional album sales, track equivalent album units, and on-demand streaming equivalent album units from both video and audio streams. One track equivalent album unit is equal to 10 tracks sold. One streaming equivalent album unit is equal to 1,500 on-demand streams.
In terms of audio-only consumption (removing on-demand video streams from the equation), the gain was 10.2 percent, rising to 491.55 million units (from 446.12 million).
R&B/HIP-HOP DOMINATES: Additionally, the R&B/hip-hop genre represented 24.5 percent of all music consumption in the U.S. -- the largest share of any genre and the first time R&B/hip-hop has led this measurement for a calendar year. (The 24.5 percent share represents a combination of album sales, track equivalent album units and streaming equivalent album units -- including both on-demand audio and video streams.) The rock genre is in second place for the year, with 20.8 percent share.
R&B/hip-hop also led Nielsen’s mid-year report -- the first time R&B/hip-hop had overtaken rock as music’s biggest genre at mid-year.
ALBUM SALES DIP, STREAMS SIZZLE: Album sales in 2017 fell 17.7 percent to 169.15 million copies sold across all configurations (CD, digital albums, vinyl LPs, cassettes, etc.). In 2016, there were 205.54 million albums sold.
While album sales continue to slip, music fans have increasingly turned to streaming services to consume music. In 2017, total on-demand streams (audio and video combined) vaulted 43 percent from 432.2 billion in 2016 to 618 billion. Of the latter sum, on-demand audio streams increased 59 percent to 400.4 billion, and on-demand video streams surged 21 percent to 217.7 billion.
SWIFT RULES WITH YEAR’S TOP SELLING ALBUM: Taylor Swift’s Reputation tops Nielsen Music’s year-end best-selling albums list, with 1.9 million sold. This is the third time Swift has claimed the year’s top-selling album. She did it previously with her last studio effort, 1989 (2014’s best seller, with 3.66 million sold that calendar year), and Fearless (2009’s leader, with 3.22 million sold that year). 1989 and Fearless have sold a total of 6.11 million and 7.13 million copies, respectively, since their release.
Notably, in the last nine years (2009 through 2017), seven of the year-end best-sellers have been an album by either Swift or Adele. The latter did it in 2016, 2015 (both with 25), 2012 and 2011 (with 21).

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