from usa today
The music industry just got the best news it has had since 2004.
After years of decline, sales of recorded music are up for the first half of 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan and Billboard's midyear music industry report.
Overall music sales (which include albums, singles and music videos) are up 8.5% over the same period in 2010, from 756 million to 821 million. Overall album sales (physical and digital, plus track-equivalent albums, in which 10 tracks are counted as one album) are up 3.6%, from 213.6 million to 221.5 million.
Digital album sales grew 19% to 50.3 million from 42.2 million and now account for 33% of album sales. Digital track sales grew 11% to 660.8 million from 597.4 million.
"The music industry has been from pillar to post over these seven years," says Jim Donio, president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers. "This is positive news for us."
Several factors account for the turnaround, Donio says. He points to October's court-ordered shutdown of peer-to-peer file-sharing website LimeWire; more ways for consumers to buy music digitally and to become aware of new releases via social media; and TV shows such as American Idol and Glee, which spark instant sales.
Adele's 21 has been the biggest-selling album this year, moving 2.5 million copies. Lady Gaga's Born This Way, which had the biggest single sales week with 1.108 million, is second with 1.5 million. Rounding out the top five so far are Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More (982,000), Jason Aldean's My Kinda Party (763,000) and Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans (686,000).
Katy Perry's E.T. is the top-selling digital song with 4.1 million, followed by Adele's Rolling Into the Deep with slightly less than 4.1 million.
Rock, rap, new age, classical and electronic music enjoyed sales increases, while country, R&B, jazz and metal declined.
Donio says the uptick is good, but piracy remains a worldwide problem.
"If we look back at the stats compared to where the music business was 10 years ago, it's mind-numbing," he says. In 2001, the first year of declining sales in the piracy era, fans scooped up 331.4 million albums by the end of June.
"Still, the needle moving in this direction feels good, for however it lasts."