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Album Sales Plummet to Six Decade Low in Wake of Coronavirus Crisis

Album sales plummet in wake of coronavirus crisis
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 31: A rare collectable Rolling Stones vinyl album is inspected by a collector at the Musicmania Record Fair at Olympia Exhibition Centre on January 31, 2015 in London, England. A large selection of rare and deleted vinyl records from punk, pop, reggae and R'n'B are offered for sale in the largest sale of it's kind. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

The music industry has been hit hard since the coronavirus became an official pandemic earlier this month. Some of the biggest festivals have been postponed or altogether canceled and dozens of artists have been forced to delay or cancel tour dates. Live entertainment isn’t the only thing that’s suffering, however.

Many musicians are pushing back album release dates as the virus continues to spread, and Amazon stopped stocking CDs and records in its warehouse. As a result, this was the worst week in album sales since the mid-1960s. As Billboard reports, U.S. album sales fell 29% to 1.52 million during the week of March 19. That number includes all formats: digital, CDs, vinyl, and cassettes. Earlier this week, Rolling Stone also reported that streaming has taken a hit during these trying times with numbers down nearly 8% due to people staying at home.

To make matters worse, Record Store Day — the year’s biggest day for album sales — has been postponed from April to June. Though things are undeniably bleak right now, artists are making the best of their time in quarantine with a number of prominent names from Ben Gibbard to Diplo livestreaming performances.