As the U.S. music industry limps into midyear with album sales down 7.6%, there is no shortage of explanations for the downturn. For most, it comes down to hits--or the lack thereof. In the 26 weeks e

As the U.S. music industry limps into midyear with album sales down 7.6%, there is no shortage of explanations for the downturn. For most, it comes down to hits--or the lack thereof. In the 26 weeks ending July 3, album sales totaled 282.6 million units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That is down 23.1 million units from the 305.7 million scanned during the 26 weeks ended June 27, 2004--last year's midpoint.