Album Sales Continue Free Fall

Josh Groban's Christmas album
Josh Groban's Christmas album "Noel" was the best selling CD of 2007. (By Kristian Dowling -- Getty Images)
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By Alex Veiga
Associated Press
Friday, January 4, 2008

U.S. album sales plunged 9.5 percent last year from 2006 despite a 45 percent surge in the sale of digital tracks, Nielsen SoundScan reported yesterday.

Consumers bought a total of 500.5 million albums -- CDs, cassettes, LPs and other formats -- last year, down 15 percent from 2006, Nielsen SoundScan said. The decline improves to 9.5 percent when sales of digital singles are counted. Nielsen SoundScan counts 10 tracks as the equivalent of one album.

The number of digital tracks sold rose to 844.2 million, from 588.2 million in 2006. Digital sales accounted for 10 percent of total album purchases.

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 week ever recorded by Nielsen SoundScan.

Compact disc album sales have fallen for years, in part because of the rise of online file sharing, but also as consumers have spent more 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 Walt Disney Co.'s "High School Musical" franchise was No. 2, with about 2.9 million units sold.

The Eagles' comeback album, "Long Road Out of Eden," was No. 3, selling around 2.6 million copies despite being independently released and sold only at Wal-Mart stores.

Mobile-phone owners bought 220 million ringtones, Nielsen SoundScan said.

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