Album Sales Continue to Drop in First Half of 2010

Album Sales Continue to Drop in First Half of 2010

It would be nice to have one of these record industry stories show an increase in album sales at some point, but that's not going to happen today - the U.S. sales figures for the first half of 2010 have been announced, and, not surprisingly, numbers are still going down.

Sales of albums fell 8.2 percent in the first half of this year, to 213.7 million units sold, according to Billboard. CD sales went from 134.6 million to 110.3 million, a 17.9-percent dip. The good news is that digital sales went up again, a 12.7-percent jump to 42.2 million from 37.1 million sold.

The amount of individual tracks sold went down slightly to 597.4 million from 598.9 million, with the price increase from 99 cents to $1.29 for lots of songs getting the blame for that from some number-watchers.

Where we get our music continues to change, too: record stores saw a 13-percent dip to 50 million albums sold in the first half of 2010, while non-traditional venues such as Starbucks and Amazon saw a 10.2 percent rise to 55.5 million albums sold.

And what's being bought? Christian/gospel was the genre that saw the least damage, with a 7.7-percent dip to 11.1 million units. R&B/rap and rock both got hit with lower sales, with the former dropping to 28.7 million from 32.8 million and the latter seeing a 13.7-percent drop to 51 million units sold. Latin music got hit the hardest, with a 28.3-percent decline in sales to 6.4 million units. The best-selling album of the first half of the year was Lady Antebellum's Need You Now.

Although these numbers are actually not as bad as some of 2009's drops, the decline is set to continue further in the second half of 2010, as the spike in album sales that occurred after Michael Jackson's death continues to slow down.