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Taylor Swift’s Fearless edged the hard-charging Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream by less than 100k, 3.2m-3.1m.

SOUNDSCAN LOOKS ON THE BRIGHT SIDE

Total Music Purchases Up 2.1%, But Albums Are Down 12.7%
OK, we know the music business is bad, but it’s not all bad.

Bless the good folks at Nielsen Soundscan for figuring out a way to make 2009 look good.

Turns out, if you add together albums, singles, music video and digital tracks—but not T-shirts, music publishing, touring income or selling your promo discs—the biz was actually up 2.1%, from 1.512 billion units sold to 1.545 billion. That’s the good news. Oh yeah, vinyl LP sales continue to rise, up 33% to 2.5 million, as did digital album sales, up 16.1% from 65.8 million to 76.4 million, while holiday season album sales climbed by about 100k, to 80.2 million, representing 21% of the total for the entire year.

On the other hand, total album sales dipped another 12.7%, from 428.4m to 374m, though, when adjusted by counting 10 downloads as an album, it dips to -8.5%. Digital sales accounted for a whopping 40% of total U.S. music purchases, up from 32% in 2008. A total of 1.2 billion tracks were downloaded, an increase of 8%.

Digital album sales during the last weekend of the year set a new high with 2.6 million, breaking the previous year’s record.. Four songs topped the 4 million mark, including Black Eyed Peas’ “Boom Boom Pow” (4.8m), and “I Got a Feeling” (4.42m), Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” (4.4m) and Flo Rida’s “Right Round” (4.1m).

Taylor Swift’s Fearless edged the hard-charging Susan Boyle’s I Dreamed a Dream by less than 100k, 3.2m-3.1m—though Boyle is actually the best-selling album released during the calendar year. Michael Jackson is the biggest-selling artist for 2009 with 8.2 million album sales, topping Swift, who sold 4.6 million.

In end-of-decade info, the Beatles#1 (11.6m), NSYNC’s No Strings Attached (11.1m), Norah JonesCome Away With Me (10.6m), and Eminem’s Marshall Mathers LP (10.2m) and Eminem Show (9.8m) were the top sellers; Eminem (32m), The Beatles (30.1m), Tim McGraw (24.8m), Toby Keith (24.5m) and Britney Spears (23m) the top-selling artists; and Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me” the Most Played Song.

UMG was once more the total album marketshare leader at 30.2%, but Sony Music Entertainment seriously closed the gap, thanks in large part to Michael Jackson and Susan Boyle, to 28.58%.

For new releases, UMG totaled nearly 34% to Sony’s 27.4%, while Sony actually topped UMG in catalog sales, 30.1%-25.41%.

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