Digital sales account for an abnormally high percentage of sales for some of this week's top albums. In spite of some incredible digital numbers, these albums appear to be deviations from the norm rather than signals that digital sales growth has drastically changed speed. Even so, digital has grabbed a large share of album sales in the first few weeks of 2010.

Vampire Weekend's "Contra" (XL Recordings) debuted with sales of 124,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a whopping 60% of them digital. Further down this week's chart, OK Go's "Of the Blue Colour of the Sky" (Capitol Records) had a 53% digital share and total sales of 11,000 units. Helped by a $6.99 price at iTunes, Ke$ha's "Animal" (RCA Records) debuted at #1 a week earlier with sales of 152,000 units and a 76% digital share (it stands at 73% after two weeks).

(Side note: GQ has a great interview with Kris Chen, XL Recording's VP of A&R, about the success of Vampire Weekend's second album and the growth of the band over the last two years. The label's pride and excitement is palpable. Who says charts don't matter? Key excerpt from Chen talking about when he signed the band: "I gave them contacts for a lot of venues across the country so they could book their own tour. I gave them an Excel spreadsheet so they could keep a budget. They knew, instinctively, that the best thing to do was to get out and tour.")

As some artists favored by digital-savvy consumers are being thrust to the top of the charts, the overall trend in overall album sales is more gradual and predictable. In this young year, digital accounts for a shade under 31% of album sales. That's up nearly seven percentage points from the 24% digital share at the same point in 2009. But it won't last. Digital tends to take a bigger share in the beginning of a year. The early weeks of any calendar year tend to lack the sort of big, mainstream releases that will have a larger CD share. Late January and early February will see new releases by Lil Wayne, Lady Antebellum and Josh Turner. The Grammy Awards, on January 31, should provide a boost to CD sales. And it's not like CD buyers are completely taking the month off. In its first week, Omarion's "Ollusion" (Starrworld/Musicworks) had only a 16% digital share. Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" (Sony Music) had a 2% digital share last week and has a 3% digital share since its release in November.

Expect digital albums sales in 2010 to follow the trend set in previous years. (Even so, 31% after two weeks is very impressive. It actually says more about digital successes than lack of CD sales.) By the end of Q1 2009, the digital share had already dropped to 21% from 24%. It finished the year at 20%. The same trend was seen the previous year. In the first three weeks of 2008, digital accounted for 17% of album sales. That dropped to 15% by the end of Q1 2008 and stayed there until the end of the year.

While digital albums are gobbling up album share, digital tracks are flat compared to the first three weeks of 2009. Keep in mind that higher prices have slightly impacted track unit sales. Variable pricing started in early May of 2009. At this time last year, hit songs cost $0.99 at iTunes. Now, nearly every one of the top 100 songs at iTunes costs $1.29.