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Music Biz Gloom And Doom Put In Perspective

Of the Oakland Press

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We’ve all heard the gloom-and-doom predictions for the music business in this age of downloading, but year-end figures from 2007 don’t necessarily support them.

While there are problem areas — and we’ll get to those momentarily — Nielsen SoundScan reports that overall music purchases were up 14 percent from 2006, with 1.35 billion units moved. The main reason for the growth was the Internet; sales of digital tracks leapt 45 percent in 2007, to 844.2 million. Ringtones were also big sellers, with 220 million sold during the year.

The alarming downturn was in album sales, which dropped 9.5 percent in 2007, to 500.5 million copies, with many consumers preferring instead to buy by the song on the Internet rather than full-length terrestrial CDs.

Nielsen SoundScan also reported that Josh Groban’s Christmas album “Noel” was indeed 2007’s top seller, at 3.7 million copies. Disney’s “High School Musical 2” sold 2.9 million copies, while the Eagles’ “Long Road Out of Eden” was third with 2.6 million copies — the vast majority sold either online or strictly through Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores.

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