Album Sales Still Down

Album sales are still suffering while sales of digital tracks keep getting better.

Mid-year results released July 4th show that album sales are down 15 percent compared to the same period last year. Between January 1st and July 1st, Nielsen SoundScan figures show 229.8 million albums sold in the U.S.

Digital sales, on the other hand. enjoyed an increase of 49 percent with the sale of 417.3 million tracks this year.

Chris Daughtry, fifth-season American Idol runner-up and the first Idol to grace Pollstar’s cover, has seen success with his band’s self-titled album, topping the charts with 1.7 million copies sold so far. The track "It’s Not Over" from the band’s debut album is No. 6 in sales.

Fellow Idol Carrie Underwood has the fifth best album-selling album with 1.1 million copies of Some Hearts and she’s sitting pretty on the top of the chart for country album sales.

In between the Idols sits Norah JonesNot Too Late, Akon’s Konvicted and Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight.

Last year the soundtrack to the Disney Channel movie "High School Musical" finished out as the year’s top album, selling more than 3.7 million copies.

The most popular digital tracks are Gwen Stefani’s "Sweet Escape" with 1.8 million sold, "Cupid’s Chokehold" by Gym Class Heroes, Maroon 5’s "Make Me Wonder" and Fall Out Boy’s "This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race."

Maybe it will be a green Christmas for album sales, making up for yet another dismal sales period for the disc. But as more and more consumers seem to prefer to hand-pick their favorite tracks rather than accept a whole package, a sudden surge in renewed interest in the album would be one heck of a Christmas miracle.

Conversely, U.K. newspaper The Times reports that a 5,000-square-meter record store called Rough Trade is expected to open this month in London. In fact, there’s been a revival in vinyl sales, with six times more 7-inch singles sold in 2006 than 2001 – although the Times suggested the sales are akin to buying modern-day artifacts.