CD Sales Down 20% In First Quarter Of 2007

The seven-year sales beatdown to the music industry has hit a new low. Compact-disc sales for the first three months of this year have declined 20% from a year earlier. The sharp slide in sales of CDs in the first quarter of 2007, which still account for more than 85% of music sold, is far greater than the sales growth of digital downloads.

Digital downloads have risen 54% from a year earlier to 173.4 million, according to Nielsen SoundScan. However, that won’t make up the the 20% decline from a year ago in CD sales to 81.5 million units. Overall, sales of all music — digital and physical — are down 10% this year.

The sudden plunge of several factors including the closure of 800 music stores, including Tower’s 89 locations, in 2006 alone. In recent weeks, the music industry has posted some of the weakest sales it has ever recorded. This year has already seen the two lowest-selling No. 1 albums since Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks music sales, was launched in 1991. In addition, one billion songs a month are traded on illegal file-sharing networks, according to BigChampagne.

This year, American Idol’s Chris Daughtry scored the number one slot with just 65,000 copies sold. That’s a serious indication on how weak the music market actually is since as recently as 2005, there were many weeks when such tallies wouldn’t have been enough to crack the top 30 sellers. Before that, a Billboard Chart topper had to sell 500,000 or 600,000 copies a week to hit number one.

Author: FutureMusic

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