Music sales figures for the first half of 2010 paint a familiar portrait for the struggling industry: physical CD sales continue to slide, but there's encouraging news on the digital front. According to Nielsen SoundScan's analysis in Billboard , overall LP sales were down 11 percent over the first six months of 2010 compared to the same time period in 2009. From January 4th through July 4th, the music industry racked up 154 million album sales, down from the 172.9 million over the same 26-week period in 2009. While physical CD sales came in 17.9 percent lower than in 2009, digital album sales were up 12.7 percent in the first half of 2010.
The second half of 2009 got a major boost thanks to sales of Michael Jackson's catalog, which surged after his June 25th, 2009 death, and the sudden emergence of reality-singing sensation Susan Boyle, who was the biggest fourth-quarter seller last year. This year retailers and labels are looking forward to the release of T.I.'s King Uncaged, Kanye West's newest disc (reportedly titled Good Ass Job) and Dr. Dre's promised Detox . As Rolling Stone previously reported, an album's worth of unreleased Michael Jackson material is also expected in time for the huge holiday season thanks to the massive contract the Jackson Estate signed with Sony Music.
Lady Antebellum's Need You Now is 2010's top-selling album so far, though Eminem's Recovery is flying off store shelves at a faster pace and will likely surpass the country group's figures in a matter of weeks. (Recovery is also forecasted to be Number One on next week's Billboard 200, which will mark its third straight week at the top.) Universal Music has led the major labels with a 30.3 percent share of the market, while Sony Music scored second with 28.3 percent.
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