[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 8 July 2006, 11:03 GMT 12:03 UK
Music download sales soar in US
James Blunt
James Blunt topped the US singles chart earlier this year
US download music sales increased by 77% in the first half of 2006, while album sales fell by 4.2%, according to research company Nielsen Soundscan.

More than 14 million full-album downloads were bought, compared with 6.5 million purchased during the first six months of 2005.

Top-selling albums of the year so far included those by Mary J Blige, James Blunt and Carrie Underwood.

Country music enjoyed a 17.7% increase in sales.

The decline in album sales has been partly attributed to a dearth of big hits so far this year - in contrast, Mariah Carey and 50 Cent both released multi-platinum albums in the early part of 2005.

"Considering that you haven't had a 50 Cent to be the Pied Piper during the first half of the year or a Norah Jones the year before that, being behind 4% in album sales is really not that bad," said Geoff Mayfield, director of charts for music magazine Billboard.

Although digital sales are growing, music fans are eschewing the more profitable full-album downloads in favour of cherry-picking a few songs.

"Digital distribution is an answer to the consumer who's been throwing up that complaint," Mr Mayfield said.

"It's a changing dynamic that the industry still needs to get its arms around."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific