Another year post-2001, another few seasons of double-digit drops in album sales.
According to Nielsen SoundScan, in the 52 weeks of 2010 with the end date Jan. 2, album sales in the U.S. fell 12.8% over the previous year. Total came in at 326.2 million units, down from 373.9 in 2009. And the sales of CDs themselves (as opposed to any other format)? Off by nearly 20%.
Individual digital track sales have appeared to plateau, managing only a 1% increase at 1.17 billion units (over 1.16), and "overall music unit sales" (albums, tracks, music videos) fell 2.4%.
As retail guru Ed Christman point out, though, digital downloaded albums are the bright spot in this bleak sales industry, with a 13% increase in 2010. Those 86.3 million units account for 26.5% of all album sales from last year.
The best-selling song was Katy Perry's "California Girls" with 4.4 million units; 2009's best-selling song was Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow" with 4.8 million. The best-selling album was Eminem's "Recovery," scanning 3.4 million.
The biggest share of album sales went to Universal Music group with 31.4% of the market. Sony Music Entertainment had 27.4%, Warner Music Group had 19.8% and EMI had 9.6%. Indies -- altogether -- made up 11.6% of sales, if you're going by Billboard's definition of indie (licensed AND distributed by an independent company).
[More after the jump...]