New York – Digital song
sales in the U.S.
declined for the first time since 2003 in the first quarter of 2010, signaling a
possible leveling off of the market, Billboard reported, citing Nielsen
SoundScan sales data. Track sales in the quarter were down nearly 1%, to 312.4
million from 315.4 million in the same period a year ago.

Even when figuring in
a calendar adjustment, track sales were down .09% in the first quarter.

Billboard said industry executives blamed the decline in digital song sales to
the price hike from 99 cents to $1.29 at Apple’s (NASD:  AAPL) iTunes Store that the major
labels had long pressed for.

"While consumers will still buy hit songs for
$1.29, it seems that catalog tracks priced at that level are not selling as
well as they are at 99 cents," Billboard notes.  

Poll: Is $1.29 for a song on iTunes
too much?

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