What a difference a decade makes. In 2000, there were 942.5 million CDs sold. Of course, that was a pre-digital world, and they’ve been on a steady decline in the years since. So it should come as no surprise that Billboard.biz reports that album sales dropped again in 2010 to 326.2 million, or a 12.8% decline from last year. The doom and gloom doesn’t stop there, though. In 2010, only 13 albums went platinum, selling 1 million units or more, a drop from 22 in the previous year. Even catalog sales fell from last year, although to be fair, they were helped out in 2009 by grieving Michael Jackson fans and the Beatles catalog being reissued.
Again, with the rise of peer to peer networks and decline in actual places to buy music, this should come as no surprise, and it’s not all bad. Digital album sales posted a 13% gain, to 86.3 million. And individual track sales inched upwards 1%, from 76.4 to 86.3 million. Five digital tracks sold more than 4 million copies, which is one more than last year. And vinyl continues its comeback, selling 2.8 million, a 14% increase from 2009. But at the end of the day, with CD sales falling by almost 20% from last year, that’s not exactly the light at the end of the tunnel. And with 46% of all music being sold digitally, 2010 could be the last year where there are more physical sales than digital ones.