Variety on 2006 Music Sales

Digital sales boost music industrypdf

The music biz can’t stem the bleeding, but for now, digital tracks are proving to be a secure Band-aid.

Album sales dropped for a seventh consecutive year, but a dramatic increase in the sale of digital tracks helped keep the music industry afloat in 2006.

Some 588.2 million album units sold last year, down 4.9%, while consumers purchased 581.9 million digital tracks — a 65% increase from 2005’s 352.7 million sold. Nielsen SoundScan, which released the figures Thursday, counts a block of 10 tracks sold as an album.

[…] Good news: Sales were spread around many different artists. Bad news: The bar for a “hit” is reduced and in many cases the return on investment for a label is smaller.