*A correction was made to this story.

New York – U.S. music sales fell 2.4% in 2010 to 1.5
billion units, as CD sales plummeted nearly 20% while digital track sales were up
just 1%, according to a report from Nielsen and Billboard. Digital track sales
were 1.17 billion in 2010, up from 1.16 in 2009. While CD sales fell
precipitously last year, digital album sales rose 13% to 863 million. The
report notes that digital music accounted for 46% of all U.S. music purchases
in 2010, up from 40% in 2009 and 32% in 2008, and digital track sales broke the
1 billion sales mark for the third straight year.

The top-selling digital songs
of 2010 were “California Gurls” by Katy Perry (4.4 million) and
“Hey, Soul Sister” by Train (4.31 million), while the top digital
albums were “Recovery” by Eminem (852,000) and “Speak Now”
by Taylor Swift (488,000).

The top selling artists of 2010, based on digital
track sales, were Eminem (15.7 million), Ke$ha (13.5 million), Lady Gaga (11.9
million), Katy Perry (11.8 million) and Black Eyed Peas (11.3 million); the cast
of Fox’s “Glee” also sold an impressive 10.7 million tracks.

report also notes that vinyl album sales were up 14% in 2010, to 2.8 million, a
record in the Nielsen SoundScan era.

*Correction: This article previously incorrectly stated that U.S. music sales in 2010 totaled $1.5 billion, rather that a total of 1.5 billion unit sales.


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  1. This article is inaccurate. U.S. music sales for 2010 were not $1.5 billion — they were 1.5 billion UNITS, which is actually close to an all-time high.

    The Nielsen SoundScan report the article is based on ( doesn’t mention dollar figures at all.