For years, it seemed like CDs were done for. Americans turned their attention toward digital downloads, and then streaming, as the ways they wanted to access the music they love. Lately, the format has been making something of a comeback, but seemingly only thanks to certain kinds of musicians whose fan bases are eager to pick up the latest releases on a plastic disc.

According to Luminate’s year-end report (See Below), there are only a select few artists who can still sell CDs in large quantities in America in 2023. That list includes Taylor Swift, as well as a handful of the biggest names in the K-pop genre. Several of those stars proved their popularity in the United States with bestselling albums–and they dominated the CD market like no one else.

On Luminate’s list of the top 10 bestselling albums on CD in 2023, three come from Swift. The country/pop superstar lands in first place, with 1989 (Taylor’s Version). That recent drop sold an incredible 800,000 copies on CD alone, placing it in a distant first place. She also appears at No. 8 with Midnights, with 276,000 copies sold. Swift collects back-to-back appearances, as she’s also present at No. 9 with Speak Now (Taylor’s Version). That re-recording sold 267,000 copies on CD throughout the year.

Luminate Releases 2023 Year-End Report

We’re pleased to present our industry-leading Year-End Music Report, highlighting the biggest takeaways from 2023.

In July, with the release of the Luminate 2023 Midyear Music Report, we revealed new insights around the power and influence of super fans and the increase of foreign language-music consumed by U.S. listeners. The data in that report also shed light on the continued growth of content (ISRCs) added to streaming services each day. In the following report, we explore the continuation of those trends, using data to illustrate how they are defining the state of the music industry. We also share newer trends that have taken shape since the first half of the year, amplified by our new country-level streaming data for 50 different global markets – now accessible on our new data platform.

The enclosed findings are consistent with Luminate’s commitment to being the trusted, objective and accurate data source reflecting and serving the entertainment industry at-large. That commitment also extends to helping bridge the gap for all adjacent industries including technology, finance, advertising, brand marketing and more.

As always, the Charts included in this report are presented by Billboard, Luminate’s exclusive chart partner for more than three decades.

The rest of the chart of the top 10 bestselling albums on CD last year in America is filled entirely by K-pop acts.

Stray Kids lead the charge as the most successful K-pop act when looking at CD sales in the U.S. in 2023. The band, which scored a pair of No. 1 titles on the Billboard 200 last year, appears twice on the top 10 list shared by Luminate. Their release 5-Star lands at No. 2, with 520,000 copies sold. The same group also comes in at No. 4 with Rock-Star, with 381,000 copies purchased.

Stray Kids “특(S-Class)” M/V
Stray Kids “거미줄(VENOM)” Video

Who Are Stray Kids

Stray Kids (스트레이 키즈 seuteurei kijeu), shortened as SKZ, is a South Korean boy group under JYP Entertainment, formed through the 2017 reality show of the same name. The group officially debuted on March 25, 2018 with their debut showcase, followed by the release of their first mini album I am NOT on March 26.

Three of the members are part of a pre-debut hip-hop sub-unit called 3RACHA. They are known as the composers and producers of the majority of Stray Kids’ discography, under the same unit name. Due to their self-produced aspect, Stray Kids grew to be known for their distinct sound.

2017-2018: Formation, reality show
In August 2017, JYP Entertainment announced the agency’s new reality survival show to launch a male idol debut project. More details were released in the next two months, including the show’s title—Stray Kids and its concept: trainees against the agency, working towards proving their skills and debuting together. The individual pictures and names of the nine trainees were released from October 11 to 13: Bang Chan, Kim Woo-jin, Lee Min-ho, Seo Chang-bin, Hwang Hyun-jin, Han Ji-sung, Felix, Kim Seung-min, and Yang Jeong-in. The team was based on the final line-up of the “Male Group Project” that performed prior at JYPE’s Homecoming Trainee Showcase on August 22, a line-up formed cojointly by trainee Bang Chan and J.Y. Park.

Prior to the survival show’s premiere on October 17, JYPE released Stray Kids’ first music video for a song titled “Hellevator”, which was later released as a digital single on November 1. The song was written and composed by the trainees as the first mission for the show. During the course of the show, all the members’ skills were tested to see if they would debut. Two members, Minho and Felix, were eliminated due to a lack of confidence for the first and difficulties with the Korean language for the second, but ultimately brought back. On the final episode aired on December 19, it was confirmed that all nine members would debut together as Stray Kids.

Along with the launch of Stray Kids’ official website, JYPE announced the release of the group’s pre-debut mini album titled Mixtape, containing all seven tracks written composed and performed by the members during the show. The mini album was released on January 8, 2018. It debuted at number 2 on Gaon’s Album Chart and Billboard’s World Albums chart.

2018: Debut, “I am” series
On March 5, 2018, JYPE announced the debut showcase of the group, UNVEIL “Op. 01 : I am NOT”, which was held on March 25 at Jangchung Arena. They officially debuted the next day with the release of their first mini album titled I am NOT, along with the music video of its title track “District 9”.I am NOT debuted at number four on Gaon’s Album Chart and sold over 54,000 physical copies in March.

On April 14, Stray Kids performed at KCON Japan 2018, the group’s first overseas performance since debut.

On July 12, JYPE announced the group’s second showcase, UNVEIL “Op. 02 : I am WHO”, which was held on August 5 at Kyung Hee University’s Grand Peace Palace. Their second mini album named I am WHO, along with its title track “My Pace”, was released the next day. Music videos for every other track on the album were also released.

On August 30, Stray Kids won their first award, The Rookie Award at the Soribada Best K-Music Awards.

On October 4, JYPE announced the group’s third showcase, UNVEIL “Op. 03 : I am YOU”, which was held on October 21 at Olympic Hall, and followed by the release of their new mini album I am YOU,along with its title track of the same name the next day. The music video of “Get Cool” was uploaded online on November 14.

2019: Showcase tour, “Clé” series, 1st music show win, Woojin’s departure
Starting from January 19, 2019, Stray Kids went for their first touring performances with UNVEIL TOUR “I am…”, which was set to travel to four continents.

An official Japanese Twitter account was opened on March 7. Stray Kids’ fifth mini album Clé 1 : MIROH and the title track “MIROH” were released on March 25, in commemoration of the first anniversary of the group’s debut. The group earned their first music show win on April 4 on M!Countdown thanks to “MIROH”.

On June 4, JYPE announced Stray Kids’ first special album Clé 2 : Yellow Wood, consisting of three new songs and 4 CD-only songs from their previous mini albums. On June 19, they released the album with its title track, “Side Effects”.

After the end of their showcase tour “I am…” on September 27, Stray Kids released the digital single Double Knot on October 9 as a pre-release for their upcoming fifth mini album Clé : LEVANTER, and also announced their first world tour, “District 9 : Unlock”. Clé: LEVANTER was scheduled for release on November 25, but on October 28, JYPE announced that Woojin had left the group due to personal circumstances, and the release of Clé : LEVANTER was delayed to December as a result.

On November 7, Stray Kids were featured on their first OST, Extraordinary You OST Part 7, singing the song “Neverending Story”. It is their first release without Woojin as an eight-member group.

On November 13, the group released the music video for “Astronaut”, a single as part of the Clé : LEVANTER album. On November 23, Stray Kids had their first ever concert in Seoul, as part of their world tour “District 9 : Unlock”.

On December 3, Stray Kids held a special showcase “Hi-STAY” in Japan, during which they announced that they would make their Japanese debut next year.

Clé : LEVANTER was finally released on December 9, with the title track “Levanter”.

Stray Kids concluded the year with the release of their second digital single, Mixtape : Gone Days on December 26, which is also the start of their Mixtape Project series.

2020: English debut, Japanese debut, “Life” duology, online concert
On January 14, 2020, Stray Kids announced their first ever English single titled Step Out of Clé to be released on the 24th with the English versions of “Double Knot” and “Levanter”, ahead of the North American leg of their world tour “District 9 : Unlock”.

On January 16, the group’s Japanese debut was announced for March 18 with the release of the compilation album SKZ2020, containing rerecorded versions as 8 members of their previous main songs, and the japanese version of three of their title tracks.

On March 25, they released the digital single Mixtape : On Track, the second iteration of the Mixtape Project.

In late May, Stray Kids released a series of multilingual versions of their OST “TOP”, containing the opening and ending songs for the anime Tower of God, based on the webtoon of the same name. While the Korean version was released on May 13, the English version was released on May 20, and the Japanese version was released on June 3 as their first physical Japanese single.

On May 26, Stray Kids announced their first studio album, GO LIVE. The album was released on June 17 with title track “God’s Menu”. It is considered as a major milestone of Stray Kids’ discography, providing the group with its first burst of popularity, redefining their identity as eight members and setting the foundation for the “Stray Kids” genre developped by the group over the years.

The album’s repackage, IN LIFE, was released on September 14 with the title track “Back Door”.

Stray Kids released their first Japanese mini album, ALL IN, with the title track of the same name, on November 4.

The group held its first concert, Unlock : GO LIVE IN LIFE, online on November 22. During the the two hours long show, Stray Kids showcased a variety of performances accompanied with technological visual effects, for a total of 22 songs. A Korean version of “ALL IN” was released on November 26 as a gift for fans, after having been performed at the concert.

2021: 1st fanmeeting, Hyunjin’s hiatus, Kingdom: Legendary War, 1st million-seller
The group held its first fanmeeting “SKZ-X” on February 20, 2021.

A few days later, Hyunjin was accused of school bullying, leading him to publish an apology on the group’s Instagram account. On March 4, JYP Entertainment announced that Hyunjin would be going on hiatus to reflect on himself following the allegations. Stray Kids will promote as 7 members until his return, which includes the group’s participation on boys group competition show Kingdom: Legendary War. On June 3, it was announced that Stray Kids won the show.

Hyunjin’s hiatus took an end with his appearance in the music video for Mixtape : OH released on June 26, after which it was announced that he would be returning to activities in July. On June 29, JYPE revealed that Stray Kids were working on their next comeback with all eight members.

On July 22, they announced their second studio album, NOEASY. While revealing details for the album, the group was featured on Mnet’s special program, KINGDOM WEEK : NO+. It ended on the same day as the release of NOEASY on August 23, with a special comeback showcase as part of the show. NOEASY became an important milestone as it was both Stray Kids’ and JYP Entertainment’s first million seller album.

On October 13, Stray Kids released their second Japanese single, Scars / Thunderous (Japanese ver.) with the double title tracks of the same name.

On November 29, Stray Kids released Christmas EveL, a “Holiday Special Single” as a gift for fans, with the double title tracks “Christmas EveL” and Winter Falls”. “Christmas EveL” was the first Stray Kids song to win a music show without promotions.

Stray Kids concluded the year with the digital compilation album SKZ2021, following last year’s SKZ2020 with the remaining songs of their older discography rerecorded as 8 members.

2022: 2nd fanmeeting, 2nd world tour, sales and charting records
Stray Kids held their second fanmeeting and first offline fanmeeting, “SKZ’S CHOCOLATE FACTORY”, on February 12 and 13, 2022. On the final day of the fanmeeting, they announced their comeback with their sixth mini album, ODDINARY.

ODDINARY was released on March 18 with the title track “MANIAC”, but as six members were tested positive for COVID-19, the first week of promotions was cancelled. The album marks Stray Kids’ first release to debut at No.1 on Billboard 200 and their second million selling album.

On April 29, Stray Kids kickstarted their 2nd world tour “MANIAC” with a concert in Seoul, their first offline concert in two years since their first world tour and the COVID-19 outbreak.

On June 22, they released their second Japanese mini album CIRCUS with the title track of the same name, which they promoted in Japan as part of the tour.

On August 1, Stray Kids released the digital single Mixtape : Time Out as a gift to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the fandom STAY.

Stray Kids announced the release of their seventh mini album MAXIDENT on September 7, followed by the showcase Seoul Special (UNVEIL 11) on September 17 and 18 to reveal the album. MAXIDENT was released on October 7 with the title track “CASE 143”, and became Stray Kids’ first million seller on the day of the release, first triple million seller with cumulative sales, as well as their second album in a row to debut at No.1 on Billboard 200.

For the second time, Stray Kids concluded the year with a compilation album: SKZ-REPLAY, which compiles their unofficial songs released as part of the SKZ-PLAYER and SKZ-RECORD Youtube series since 2020.

2023: 3rd fanmeeting, dome tour, 1st American award, collaborations
Stray Kids released their first Japanese studio album, THE SOUND with the title track of the same name, on February 22.

They completed the final leg of their 2nd World Tour “MANIAC”, which ended on April 2, 2023 in Los Angeles.

On May 31, it was announced that JYPE had extended their partnership with Republic Records, covering “worldwide distribution of artists and catalogs, A&R, marketing and business development.”

Stray Kids released their third studio album ★★★★★ (5-STAR) on June 2, 2023, themed after the group’s fifth year anniversary, with the title track “S-Class”. As of its release, it became the most pre-ordered album in K-pop history, and Stray Kids’ third album in a row to debut at No.1 on Billboard 200. A month later, Stray Kids held their third fanmeeting, “PILOT : FOR ★★★★★”, on July 1 and 2.

On August 2, all of the members, except Lee Know and HAN, opened personal Instagram accounts.

On August 6, they kickstarted their 5-STAR Dome Tour with the first concert in Fukuoka, Japan.

On September 6, they released their first Japanese EP in collaboration with Japanese singer LiSA, Social Path (feat. LiSA) / Super Bowl (Japanese ver.).

On September 12, Stray Kids attended the MTV Video Music Awards, their first American award show, and received the first American award of their career for “Best K-Pop”.

On October 5, the group announced their upcoming eighth mini album ROCK-STAR, with the associated showcase “Seoul Special (UNVEIL 13)” taking place on October 21 and 22. In the meantime, Stray Kids were featured on a remix version of the song “All My Life” by Lil Durk and J Cole, released on October 13.

They released ROCK-STAR on November 11 with the title track “LALALALA”.

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