U.S. album sales plunged 9. 5 percent last year from 2006, as the beleaguered recording industry marked another weak year of sales despite...
LOS ANGELES — U.S. album sales plunged 9.5 percent last year from 2006, as the beleaguered recording industry marked another weak year of sales despite a 45 percent surge in the sale of digital tracks, according to figures released today.
A total of 500.5 million albums sold as CDs, cassettes, LPs and other formats were purchased last year, down 15 percent from 2006’s unit total, said Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks point-of-purchase sales.
The shortfall in album sales drops to 9.5 percent when sales of digital singles are counted as 10-track equivalent albums.
The number of digital tracks sold, meanwhile, jumped 45 percent to 844.2 million, compared with 588.2 million in 2006, with digital album sales accounting for 10 percent of total album purchases.
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Overall music purchases, including albums, singles, digital tracks and music videos, rose to 1.35 billion units, up 14 percent from 2006.
Music sales during the last week of 2007 totaled 58.4 million units, the biggest sales week ever recorded by Nielsen SoundScan.
The recording industry has seen CD album sales decline for years, in part due to the rise of online file-sharing but also as consumers have spent more of their leisure dollars on other entertainment purchases, such as DVDs and video games.
Warner Music Group artist Josh Groban had the best-selling album with “Noel.” The album, a collection of Christmas songs, sold about 3.7 million copies.
A soundtrack for The Walt Disney Co.’s popular “High School Musical” franchise was second with about 2.9 million units sold.
The Eagles’ comeback album, “Long Road Out of Eden,” scored the third spot, selling about 2.6 million copies, despite being independently released and available for purchase only at Wal-Mart stores.
The recording industry continued to benefit from mobile music, with mobile phone owners buying 220 million ringtones, the firm said.