It’s been a banner year for soundtracks on the Billboard 200 chart following the success of top 10 efforts like La La Land, Moana and Fifty Shades Darker. In total, soundtrack albums have sold 4.58 million copies in 2017 (through the week ending June 8, according to Nielsen Music), up a big 31 percent compared to the same time frame a year ago (3.51 million).
To put that 4.58 million figure in perspective, soundtracks have sold more in 2017 than Latin albums (1.35 million) and Dance/Electronic albums (1.79 million) combined (3.14 million). In terms of overall sales among all genres of music, total album sales stand at 72.54 million in 2017 – down 19 percent year-to-date.
Further, of the top 20 selling albums in 2017, five are soundtracks, led by Moana (the year’s No. 4 seller with 457,000), Trolls (No. 7; 342,000), Beauty and the Beast (No. 9; 311,000) and Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2 (No. 10; 300,000). In the same span of time in 2016, there was just one soundtrack among the top 20 sellers: Prince and the Revolution’s Purple Rain (No. 5, with 542,000), which saw a surge of sales following Prince’s death on April 21, 2016.
On the latest Billboard 200 chart (dated June 24), soundtracks continue to sizzle, as Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe, Volume 1 bows at No. 22 on the Billboard 200 (22,000 units; 18,000 in album sales) and at No. 2 on the Soundtracks chart.
On the former tally, it’s the third TV soundtrack to debut in the top 40 in 2017, following The Bob’s Burger’s Music Album (No. 21 on the June 3 chart) and Big Little Lies (No. 23, April 22). Including Steven Universe, there have been 17 soundtracks that have reached the top 40 in 2017 (including debuts and titles that carried over from 2016, or those that returned to the tally after a longer absence). Comparably, in the same span of time in 2016 (from Jan. 1 through June 25) there were just 10 soundtracks that ranked among the top 40.