Top-selling classical album: the outcast organist

Top-selling classical album: the outcast organist


norman lebrecht

September 03, 2014

The top-selling classical album in the US last week (source: Nielsen Soundscan) is the flamboyant organist Cameron Carpenter, who was denied entry to Britain earlier this year.


Cameron’s Sony release sold just 387 copies.




The next best was Benjamin Grosvenor on Decca with 229.

Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s Bach on DG follows with 211 sales.

That’s in the whole of the US market of 314 million people.

cameron carpenter album




  • Christy says:

    If classical artists do not market themselves on all platforms, they cannot expect to sell. If they do not develop new ways to reach out, they won’t sell. There is an entire internet, but nothing new from classical musicians (with the exception of a few – Domingo, Fleming, Netrebko, DiDonato) or most important, the labels and industry.

  • Certificate of Deposit says:

    I heard that the production costs for a solo CD are at least 5000 EUR which might include 150 packaged CDs. Then you have marketing/sales outlays. No way you can recoup those costs with these meagre unit sales.
    I would not buy a CD with that butch cover anyway- even K. Buniatishvili would be preferable.

  • Michael says:

    Do these figures include MP3’s?

  • Neil Thompson Shade says:

    Wow! How can the recording industry survive with these sales? I have considered purchasing the Pierre-Laurent Aimard’s Bach and Cameron Carpenter CDs. I have many recordings of Mr. Aimard in my collection and Mr. Carpenter seems to be in line to replace Virgil Fox who started me on classical music 45 years ago.

    I am a US reader of BBC Music and Grammophone magazines. Each issue has around 100 new releases (often same releases). I wonder who is buying these? I personally purchase around 100 CDs a year. I am not ready for digital downloads due to potential format uncertainty. The audio streaming model is a rip-off to artists since these services pay pennies per play.

    My students, children and younger staff in my office all think that recorded music shout be free or 99 cents per download or delivered via compromised audio quality streaming. Sad.
    But vinyl is groovy with this crowd, but the classical music industry is not releasing many vinyl recordings.

    Neil Thompson Shade

  • Christy says:


    This CD is listed 5th on Billboard’s “classical” chart. What did those in front of it sell?

  • Jorge Grundman says:

    Norman is talking about sales per week. Not total sales.