Each year since 2001, the Country Music Association has released a white paper on the current state of the country music business and the 2006 edition is about to be released.
Country Music remained steady in 2006 with a modest 0.5% drop in album sales from 2005, according to figures released Jan. 4, 2007, by Nielsen SoundScan. Total all-genre album sales (CD, CS, LP, Digital Albums) for the entire music industry were down 4.9% from 2005.
"2006 was a year that really showcased the depth of Country Music's diversity across all areas of our business, from record sales to tours, movies to books and outstanding media coverage," said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer.
Highlight stats from the CMA press release:
Overall the number of Country albums sold in 2006 was 74.9 million down slightly from 75.3 million in 2005. The total number of all-genre albums sold in 2006 was 588.2 million, down from 618.9 million in 2005.
Country Music placed five artists in the Top Ten Selling Artists of the year, regardless of genre: Rascal Flatts (No. 1); Johnny Cash (No. 2); Carrie Underwood (No. 4); Tim McGraw (No. 6); and Keith Urban (No. 9). Three Country artists placed albums in the Top Ten Selling Albums of the year, regardless of genre: Rascal Flatts -- Me and My Gang (No. 2); Carrie Underwood -- Some Hearts (No. 3); and the Dixie Chicks -- Taking the Long Way (No. 9).
As the top selling artist of the year, Rascal Flatts sold more than 4.9 million albums in 2006. Their fourth album, Me and My Gang, sold 3,479,994 copies, placing second only to the High School Musical Soundtrack album as the top selling album of the year and the No. 10 top selling digital album of the year. Rascal Flatts was also the top selling digital artist of the year, based on digital track sales.