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Digital Music Sales Still Rising in U.S. Market

According to the Hollywood Reporter, physical album sales continued to decline in the U.S. during the first six months of 2006, down 4.2 percent in comparison to the same period last year.

However, Nielsen SoundScan figures through the week ending July 2 indicate that digital sales might loft the business as a whole. Sales of digital albums soared 126% percent during the first half of the year, while digital single tracks rose 77 percent.

Looking at the entire sales picture -- comprising physical albums, digital albums and digital tracks -- overall sales to date this year have actually gained about one-tenth of a percentage point over the first six months of 20005. A total of 270.6 million physical albums sold domestically through the end of June, representing a drop of 12 million units from last year's six-month total of 282.6 million.

Digital albums improved by 8.2 million units, with 14.7 million units sold since January versus just 6.4 million units in the first half of 2005. Digital tracks gained by 122 million units; 281 million tracks were sold in the first six months of the year versus 158 million in the same period last year.

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