The Recording Academy has called a halt to its annual Grammy Nominees CD series. The franchise was a major hit for many years, but has faltered in recent years as CD sales have dwindled.
“It ended up costing us quite a bit of money to do it and it was not selling [in big numbers anymore]” Harvey Mason Jr., the Recording Academy’s chair and interim president/CEO, told Billboard.
An Academy spokesperson injected a hopeful note: “The CD is taking a year off and conversations will be had next year on how to proceed in this new music consumption world.”
Fifteen volumes in the annual series, which was produced by Leslie Lewis, made the top 10 on the Billboard 200. Two volumes—in 2013 and 2014—climbed as high as No. 2.
For many years, the Grammy Nominees CDs were as nearly as reliable as the Now franchise—which has also fallen off as CD sales have plunged. The first Grammy Nominees CD in 1995 peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200, but the next 23 in a row made the top 20. The last two volumes stalled in the 50s on the chart.
The main franchise sold 9.8 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. That tally doesn’t count three genre-specific spinoff titles released between 1999 and 2001 for rap and R&B/rap nominees. Adding those titles in, the franchise sold 10.4 million copies. (Also not included in this sales tally are the Latin Grammy Awards’ nominee compilation series, which ran from 2000 to 2005.)
Seven of the Grammy Nominees titles sold in excess of 500,000 copies. The best-selling individual titles in the series were the 2000, 1999 and 2004 editions, which sold 875,000, 674,000 and 642,000 copies, respectively.