With digital track download sales leading the way, overall U.S. sales for all formats and configurations grew 14.7% to a whopping 1.37 billion last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
But album sales, including digital albums, finished at 500 million units — a 14.9% decline from the 542.4 million copies scanned in 2006. That breaks out to an 18.8% decline for CDs, which scanned 449.2 million versus the 553.4 million units the album format generated in 2006. Digital album scans totaled 50 million, or 10% of all album scans.
Digital track downloads led the way as that digital configuration moved 844.1 million, a 45% increase over the 2006 total of nearly 582 million. The year ended on an even high as digital track downloads hit 43 million in the last week of 2007, up 42.5% from the 30.1 million generated in the final week of 2006.
In that same week, digital album downloads reached 1.9 million, or 13% of the total albums scanned during the week ended Dec. 30.
When albums, including track equivalent albums — using an equation of 10 track downloads per one album unit — are considered, overall album sales declined 9.5% to 585 million units from 646.3 million units in 2006.
The best selling album honors went to Josh Groban’s “Noel,” which scanned 3.7 million units since its Oct. 9 release. Meanwhile, the top selling digital song was Soulja Boy Tell Em’s “Crank That,” which scanned 2.9 million units, while Maroon 5 won the top selling digital album honors with its “Its Won’t Be Soon Before Long,” which scanned 252,000 units.
When looking at market share, Universal Music Group was once again the market leader with a 31.9% share, versus 31.6 in 2006. Warner Music Group posted the most share growth, finishing the year with a 20.3% slice of the pie, versus 18.1% in 2006, leaving it ranked third.
The second largest U.S. Distributor, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, saw its market share drop to 25% from the 27.4% it garnered in 2006. Likewise, EMI was down to 9.4% from the 10.2% it had in 2006. Collectively, the independent sector posted growth to 13.5%, from the 12.6% it had in the prior year.