Album music sales drop, singles in renaissance

The Associated Press today reported 2007's substantial decline in the music industry's album sales, illustrating how albums are no longer the vehicle of choice for music consumption.

The year 2007 saw a total of 500.5 million albums sold, including "hard copy" media: CDs, cassettes and LPs -- yes, someone's still out there pressing vinyl. This is a 15% drop from the unit total for 2006, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The drop in hard copy sales, however, gets adjusted by digital sales. Each single digital track sold counts as 1/10 of an album, so the 844.2 million single tracks sold last year adjust the album sales decrease to 9.5% -- still a substantial decline in the format.

Overall music sales, however, increased 14% from last year to 1.35 billion units sold, thanks in large part to the aforementioned 844.2 million digital tracks, a reported 45% more than last year. And with more major labels sloughing off DRM, digital music sales will only continue to grow.

Billboard's current top selling album is Mary J. Blige's "Growing Pains," which was released on December 18, strategically before the holiday season and the following last week of the year. The last week of 2007 became the biggest sales week of the entire year for music, with a reported 58.4 million units sold.

For some reason, Billboard currently lists the peak position of "Growing Pains" as #1 eight days from today.

Top selling albums of 2007 include Josh Groban's christmas album "Noël," the High School Musical 2 soundtrack, and The Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden."

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