Album sales dropped only 5% in January versus the same period in 2009, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's only one month, but that marks a far better performance for the month in recent years.

If the last three years are any indication, the album may fare relatively well in 2010. As the numbers below show, January can be a harbinger of the album's performance over the next 11 months.

January 2007:
-15% (for four-week period ending January 28), albums ended 2007 down 15%

January 2008:
-12% (for five-week period ending February 3), albums ended 2008 down 14%

January 2009:
-12% (for five-week period ending February 1), albums ended 2009 down 11%

January 2010:
-5% (for four-week period ending January 31)