The recording industry registered sales of about 667 million albums, an increase of about 1.6 percent, according to year-end data expected to be released today by the market research firm Nielsen SoundScan.
While that snaps a three-year streak of declines, the industry is still confronting a series of problems, including digital piracy, and competition from products like DVD’s and video games. Album sales at one point surged by as much as 8 percent over last year’s pace, but fell victim to a lackluster holiday season.
The data, covering a 52-week period, also show that the industry is beginning to tap the power of the Internet to generate sales, though free music still flows through online file-sharing networks. […]
While the data appear to diminish industry concerns that sales of individual songs online would cannibalize sales of CD’s, it is far from clear whether the industry will be able to develop profitable online business models. The data show that consumers buy individual tracks for about 99 cents much more often than they download full-length albums, which carry a higher price tag.