Album Sales Bath Continues During First Quarter

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A disastrous 2007 is now spilling into 2008 for the recording industry, according to figures surfacing Wednesday.

During the first quarter, overall album sales in the United States dropped 10.7 percent to 104.5 million units, according to figures published by Nielsen Soundscan.  That follows a 15 percent drop last year, spurred partly by disappointing Christmas sales volumes.

Over the past two years, first-quarter, US-based album sales have dropped a precipitous 25 percent, and signs point to more bleeding ahead.  The most painful downturn is coming from the once-unstoppable CD album, which tanked 16 percent during the recent three-month period.

Meanwhile, paid downloads continued their increase, though arguments for an eventual plateau are strengthening.  During the quarter, paid downloads increased 28.7 percent to 281.4 million, slower than gains of 51.9 percent during the year-ago period, and 96 percent during the same period in 2006.

Story by news analyst Alexandra Osorio