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CD Sales' Coldest Winter: December Numbers Plummeting

December 18, 2008 11:30 AM ET

As is becoming an annual winter tradition, CD sales are having yet another icy December, with sales down 21.7 percent compared to the first week of December 2007. It's hard to blame this year's slate of releases, as the Top 10 albums are selling better than their counterparts last year. So what's to blame? Most likely the recession: iPods and Wiis aren't selling out like in previous years, either.

While by all accounts the big retailers are being battered on the CD sales front, the season has been slightly better for indie stores, as they've seen only a 8.6 percent decrease in album sales. And there was good news for places like Starbucks and online music stores: sales are actually up 8.7 percent. In fact, the number of digital songs sold this year will top 1 billion. So what does the future hold? Stores are already starting to cut down on the floor space they dedicate to CDs. "DVD, Blu-ray are doing great. The CD, no," said one wholesale exec. "I expect next year that we will be cutting back on our CD buying... we will be buying less of each title."

Related Stories:
October CD Sales Down As Economy Struggles With Recession
Despite Some Big Rock Records, Music Biz Still Struggling
Mid Year Music Biz Report Card: CDs Down, Digital Sales Up, Tours Steady

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Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

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