Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cleveland Music Sales: The Decade in Numbers

Posted By on Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 1:40 PM


Check out this week’s Scene for a rundown of the Northeast Ohio’s ten biggest music-related stories of the decade. It covers the changing music business and the careers of the scene’s top-selling artists, including the Black Keys, Kate Voegele and Chimaira.

(R&B singer Avant, a 1995 graduate of the Cleveland School of the Arts, hasn’t been an active presence on the day-to-day scene over the decade. His five albums have sold a combined 3.3 million copies and 864,000 digital songs.)

As we researched the piece, we dug up all-time sales figures for some of the area’s biggest musical exports from the ’00s and the ’90s. Record sales are down across the entire industry, and Ohio acts are no exception. What’s your take on why the Black Keys — the top-selling locally spawned group of the decade — aren’t putting up Nine Inch Nails numbers? Is it due to downloading, less time on the shelf or something else?

Increasingly, sales are tracked by both albums and digital songs. “Album sales” includes both 1) physical CDs/records sold and 2) purchased downloads of entire albums. “Digital song” sales refer to single tracks sold. So if someone bought the Black Keys’ entire Rubber Factory album, it counts as one record sold. If someone downloaded 12 of its 13 tracks, that transaction counts as 12 digital tracks sold. Transactions only count in one category.

All figures are courtesy of Nielsen SoundScan, the service that tracks sales for the music industry. All numbers are from December 9, except the Levert group and Black Keys bands’ figures, which are from December 16; we wanted to see how the new BlakRoc disc was selling.

Black Keys bands and projects:

Black Keys: 5 albums and 2 EPs. 747,000 copies sold. 413,000 digital songs.

BlakRoc: 1 album (released November 27, 2009). 24,000 copies sold. 1,000 digital songs.

Dan Auerbach: 1 album. 49,000 copies sold. 23,000 digital songs.

Drummer: 1 album. 1,000 copies sold. 1000 digital songs.

Total Black Keys-related sales: 821,000 albums sold. 438,000 digital songs.

Gerald Levert projects (1984-2007, RIP 2006):

LeVert: 7 albums, one best-of comp. 1.32 million albums sold. 115,000 digital songs.

Gerald Levert solo: 10 albums. 5.51 million albums. 374,000 digital songs.

LSG (Levert-Sweat-Gill): 2 albums. 2.1 million copies sold. 106,000 digital songs.

Gerald & Eddie Levert: 2 albums. 705,000 copies sold. 6,000 digital songs.

Gerald Levert-related sales: 21 original studio albums. 9.43 million albums sold in SoundScan era (1991+). 601 digital songs.


Avant: 5 albums. 3.3 million copies sold. 864,000 digital songs.

Bone Thugs-n-Harmony: 9 albums. five best-of comps, 16.6 million copies sold. 1.8 million digital songs.

Chimaira: 5 albums. 425,000 copies sold. 111,000 digital songs.

Kid Cudi: 1 album. 216,000 copies sold. 2.44 million digital songs.

Mushroomhead: Six albums (including XX comp). 650,000 copies sold. 171,000 digital songs.

Nine Inch Nails: 8 albums (if you count the EP Broken as a major release), four remix EPS. 13 million copies sold. 3.1 million digital songs.

Kate Voegele: 2 albums. 350,000 copies sold. 1.1 million digital songs. —D.X. Ferris

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