Music Purchases Up

While album sales continued to slide last year, declining 4.4 percent to 316 million units, it appears consumers haven’t given up on buying music.

Music purchases hit an all-time high in 2012, according to Nielsen SoundScan, topping 1.65 billion units and growing 3 percent over 2011.

Digital music played a big role in those numbers, with total digital sales up 9.1 percent for the year and digital album sales up 14.1 percent during the same period.

But even analog music played a part. Sales of vinyl albums reached 4.6 million in 2012, up from 3.9 million in 2011, SoundScan said.

Adele’s 21 was, for the second year running, the highest-selling album in the U.S., moving 4.4 million copies. Taylor Swift earned the second spot on the list for Red, selling 3.1 million albums.

Other top-selling artists in 2012 included One DirectionMumford & SonsJustin BieberCarrie Underwood and Jason Aldean.