Adele, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga lead first increase in record sales in seven years, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures.

Caroline Ku
  • 18 july 2011

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This article titled “First rise in US album sales since 2004” was written by Sean Michaels, for on Friday 8th July 2011 11.54 UTC

Check the sky for flying pigs: US album sales are up. American industry experts report that for the first time since 2004, more music is being bought and sold in 2011 than during the same time last year – a difference of almost 2m albums. It’s as if a sliver of light has penetrated the gloom of the music industry.

US album sales are up by 1% in the first half of 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This is only the second time since 1999 that album sales have seen year-on-year growth. In comparison, the first half of 2010 showed an 11% drop from 2009’s sales figures, and the UK’s 2010 numbers were 7% lower than the previous year.

And it isn’t just albums: people are buying more digital singles. US music sales have increased by 8.5% over the first half of last year, bolstered by an 11% increase in digital single purchases and a 41% boom in vinyl sales.

As in the UK, Adele is leading US sales figures – Americans have bought 2,517,000 copies of 21. But the industry has also been buoyed by acts such as Katy Perry and Mumford & Sons, as well as digital “fire sales”, such as Amazon’s 99 cent Lady Gaga offer.

Despite iPod slingers and vinyl fetishists, the US remains a country of musical traditionalists. Downloads still account for just one out of three albums sold, with CDs being the most popular format by far. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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