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Issue Date: Vol. 51, No. 7, July 2011, Posted On: 6/19/2011

A First: Digital Music Sales Topped CD Sales In 2010

Marcus Webb

NEW YORK CITY -- The latest statistics for U.S. retail music sales from the Recording Industry Association of America reveals that revenues from digital music sales surpassed revenues from CD sales for the first time last year, according to Digital Music News. | SEE CHART

CD sales fell from 847 million units in 1998 to 225.8 million units in 2010. Retail value dropped from $13.7 billion to $3.3 billion over the same period.

DMN pointed out that the market price point of CDs -- the amount consumers are willing to pay -- has been falling much faster than volume.

The RIAA's statistics, based on SoundScan cash register data collection, do not account for independent CD sales from such sources as CD Baby.

In addition, some experts said that sales and production of "do it yourself" CDs are way up on a cumulative basis. That is, more and more artists enter the market each year, despite the fact that, on average, they sell fewer and fewer titles per artist.

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