NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — With a lack of strong releases and the growing popularity of Internet piracy, U.S. album sales dropped by 17 percent in the first quarter of 2007. Although online music purchases are up, it is not enough to combat rising file sharing and declining physical CD demand.
Retailers sold 117.1 million albums in the three months that ended April 1st, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Universal Music Group retained its lead in the market with 32 percent of sales. Sony BMG was second with 26 percent of albums sold, Warner Music Group had 18 percent, and EMI earned 12 percent.
More than 280 million digital tracks were sold in the first quarter, outpacing album sales by more than 100 million units, according to Billboard. By the end of the quarter, digital track sales were up 51.9 percent, and digital album sales were up 56 percent to a total of 11.5 million units. Digital albums accounted for 10 percent of all album sales, up from 5.2 percent in 2006. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers