UMVD leads market share in positive year.

Total U.S. album sales for 2004 were 666.7 million units, an increase of 1.6% in a 52-week comparison to 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Overall sales, including digital tracks, totaled 817 million, up 19.5%.

However, in an anomaly of the calender, 2004 was a 53-week year. When including the total period, album sales were 681.4 million units, an increase of 3.8% from 2003’s total.

Either way, 2004 marks the first positive year for the U.S. music industry since 2000.

In looking at total-album market share, Universal Music & Video Distribution remained the industry leader, with 29.6%, followed by Sony BMG Music Entertainment Sales, with 28.5%. The independent sector collectively placed third, with 17.4%, followed by WEA, 14.7%, and EMM, 9.9%.

In current-album market share, UMVD scored 32.2%, followed by Sony BMG, 29.8%; the indies, 15.8%; WEA, 13%; and EMM, 9.3%.

Usher’s “Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) was the best-selling album of the year, with nearly 9 million units.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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