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Nielsen’s 2017 Sales Report: Metallica And Linkin Park Among Most Popular Artists, Rock Faces Overall Decline


Nielsen have compiled an informative report of 2017’s music trends based on sales and tracking data collected throughout the year. Unsurprisingly, given the rise of streaming platforms, the total album sales and digital track sales markets both saw considerable declines. Total album sales & track equivalent album sales for 2017 amounted to 224.6 million—a 19.2% drop from the 277.9 million sold the year prior.

Digital track sales also continued the downward trend with 554.8 million songs sold in 2017—down 23.4% from the 724 million sold in 2016. Physical album sales also saw a decline, with 102.9 million albums sold as opposed to the 123.2 million moved the year prior. 14.3 million of those albums sold in 2017 were vinyl however, representing a positive 9% growth from 2016.

Digital audio streaming continued to soar, hitting 400.4 billion streams, up 58.7% from 2016. When it came to the genre of rock, Metallica dominated with album sales, track equivalent album sales and on demand audio stream equivalent album streaming totaling 1,836,000. Imagine Dragons followed in second with 1,775,000.

Linkin Park clocked in at #4 on the rock genre charts behind The Beatles with 1,346,000—a number boosted by the tragic suicide of their frontman Chester Bennington.

Meanwhile, Metallica‘s “Hardwired…To Self-Destruct” also landed at #3 on the top 5 rock album charts, shifting 681,000 when it came to combined album sales, track equivalent album sales and on demand album stream equivalent streaming. #1 was claimed by Imagine Dragons‘ “Evolve” with 1,158,000, while #2 went to Twenty One Pilots‘ “Blurryface” with 696,000.

Overall though, rock was overtaken by hip hop & R&B, which topped the charts with a 24.5% market share as opposed to rock’s 20.8% market share. Still, despite rock being dethroned, Metallica did land at #9 on the top 10 album charts of overall sales with 585,000 sold.

They also managed to land at #3 on the top 10 physical albums sold with 470,000 copies. That said, they trailed way behind Taylor Swift, who claimed #1 with 1,035,000 on that same chart with her album “Reputation“.

Should you want to delve deeper into the data you can find the complete report at