Welcome to 2008, and welcome to this incredibly surprising news coming out of the AP: US album sales declined in 2007. Kind of like how they’ve declined in eight of the past twelve years, actually.
On the half-full side of the equation, though, let’s look at the digital end of things: single track downloads increased to 844MM from about 588MM and album downloads increased by 53% to about 50MM. Those look like pretty attractive numbers, when you consider than in the CD’s best era (the early 1990s) the year-over-year increase in unit sales maxed out at about 25%, and that without converting single-track downloads to “album equivalents” the year-over-year decline in album sales would have been more like 15%.
So the real headline here seems to be Despite Music Industry’s Best Efforts, Digital Music Successful.
Coming soon: Hey, Big Content: what ever happened to that whole “ringle” thing that was going to bring back CD sales for the holiday season?