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Shrinking album sales

SHOCKING NEWS: Well, not really. U.S. album sales were down 12.7% in 2010, same as the year before. In all, 326.2 million CDs and digital album downloads were sold during the 52 weeks that ended Jan. 2, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That represents the lowest total of the SoundScan era, which dates back to 1993. Track sales were up by a less than thrilling 1%, to 1.17 billion units (see lead story). “This felt like a really tough year,” Dangerbird co-founder/CEO Jeff Castelaz commented in the L.A. Times. “This was the year everyone had to get used to the new normal. There's no doubt it's harder to sell a record. There's so much noise and fragmentation. It's harder to say, 'If we get a band on a radio, we'll sell 50,000 singles.'" (1/6a)

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