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Adele Leads Record Industry Out of Sales Slump

Music sales have smaller decline thanks to digital tracks

April 7, 2011 2:00 PM ET
Adele Leads Record Industry Out of Sales Slump
Sean Gallup/Getty

Thanks to a surge in record sales in the past seven weeks, overall music sales in the United States has slipped only 1.3 percent from the same period last year, when they declined 6.1 percent. This may not sound very good, but in the ever-slumping music industry, relatively flat sales have become something worth celebrating.

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The slowing decline is mainly due to growth in the digital sales market. Sale of digital tracks have increased by 8.6 percent in the first three months of 2011 and digital album sales have gone up by 14.9 percent. Almost half of the sales for the year's best-selling new release, Adele's 21, have come from digital album sales. Other discs, such as the Decemberists' The King Is Dead, Cake's Showroom of Compassion and Amos Lee's Mission Bell have all hit Number One on the album charts mainly on the strength of digital sales.

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“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

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Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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