Albums sales in the US dipped by 7% in 2005 but the music download market doubled over the past year, according to early figures.
Mariah Carey boasts the year's biggest selling album
Sales stood at 602.2 million during the year, down from 650.8 million in 2004, report analysts Nielsen Soundscan.
Downloaded music reached 332.7 million for 2005, an increase of 148% on the previous year.
More than 95% of music is sold in CD format, with Mariah Carey and 50 Cent proving the year's biggest sellers.
Sales of Carey's comeback album The Emancipation of Mimi are narrowly beating 50 Cent's The Massacre for the biggest album of the year, both with sales over 4.8m.
Downloads shot up during the Christmas period, with 9.6 million sold - the biggest week on record for download sales.
"More and more we're seeing customers switch to downloads or burning CDs from their friends," said Jesse Klempner, owner of Aron's Records in Hollywood.
"The last couple of years we've been hanging on by our teeth."
There were also disappointing figures for music videos and DVDs, with sales slipping 23% on the previous year.
The week following Christmas has still to be collated and could boost final year figures when they are officially released in January.