By PHIL GALLO\Variety
Album sales are down 11% from the midpoint of 2007, while digital sales continue to grow at a steady pace.
Physical and digital album sales reached 204.6 million units in the 26 sales weeks between Dec. 31 and June 29, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
CD sales have been a prime culprit in the sales dip, as they are off more than 16% from 2007 levels, which were significantly down from the year prior. Sales of CDs have been hit hard by the closure of musicstores such as Virgin and the reduction of shelf space at big-box stores such as Best Buy and Target.
As much as album sales are slumping, they took an even bigger pounding in the first half last year. The January-July total in 2007 was 229.8 million units, down significantly from the fairly comparable first-half numbers of 2006 (298.7 million) and 2005 (298.4 million).