For the First Time Ever, Older Albums Are Out-Selling Newer Albums

If albums are still worth billions of dollars, then a majority of those billions are now going to older releases. According to US-based data just released by Nielsen Music, older, ‘catalog’ albums outsold newly-released albums in 2015, the first time that has ever happened.

Nielsen categorizes an album as ‘catalog’ when its release date is more than 18 months ago. In almost all cases, an album has exhausted its new-release sales energy after that point, and becomes an older selection.

The shift is surprising given the extremely-heavy sales of Adele’s 25, solidly a ‘new release’ given its late-2015 release. But albums are typically purchased by older consumers, a demographic that responded very positively to Adele. Indeed, Adele’s album-heavy success has been partly attributed to heavy participation among older buyers, many of whom are less price-sensitive and less dialed into streaming platforms....more