Album sales are down 16.6% to 117.1 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, for the period running from January 1 through April 2. The consensus around the music business is that declines are mainly due to a weak release schedule, the consumer's loss of confidence in the CD and a reduction in store space for the format.

While CD sales were down 20.5%, digital track sales totaled 281.7 millions, outpacing album sales by more than 100 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. When those digital track sales are factored as a track equivalency to albums, album sales are only down 10.3%.

The top sellers so far this year? Norah Jones "Not Too Late," with nearly 1.2 million scans, is the only album to top the million unit mark. Meanwhile, two digital tracks topped that milestone: Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't A Scene, It's An Arm's Race," and Gwen Stefani's "Sweet Escape." The top selling digitally-downloaded album so far this year is Daughtry's self titled album, which has scanned more than 98,000 units.

In the market share race, the Universal Music Group held steady in the top spot, racking up a 30.6% slice of the pie, followed by Sony BMG Music Enterainment Sales with 25.7%, the Warner Music Group with 19%, the independent sector collectively at 13.1% and EMI Music with 11.6%.

UMG was also the king of the hill in current album market share, garnering a
32% slice. The other distributors finished in the same order, with Sony BMG
Music Entertainment at 26.3%; WMG at 17.7%; the indies collectively at
12.1%m; and EMI at 12%.

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