Despite an increasingly fragmented market, country music sales in 2012 were up substantially over those of the year before,
according to figures released by Nielsen SoundScan, the organization that tallies actual retail purchases.
Swift was country’s largest benefactor.
In fact, country was one of only two genres of music that experienced a
jump in sales. Fans purchased 44.6 million physical copies of country albums during the year just ending, an increase of 4.2
percent over the 42.8 million copies sold in 2011.
Rock albums enjoyed a 2 percent bump — from 100.5 million to 102.5
million. However, alternative, Christian/gospel, classical, dance/electronic, jazz, Latin, metal, new age, RB, rap and soundtracks
all sold fewer albums, with classical suffering the greatest dip at 20.5 percent.
Country also had a big increase in
digital albums sales — from 8.1 million in 2011 to 11.2 million last year. Its 37.8 percent