On the charts: Eminem crosses the million mark as biz faces another double-digit dip in sales

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With 2010 reaching its halfway mark, U.S. album sales are again facing another double-digit decline. Yet amid the harsh climate, Eminem’s “Recovery” has managed to top 1 million in sales after adding an additional 313,000 copies sold to its tally this week. “Recovery” is one of four albums released in 2010 to sell more than 1 million copies through the first half of the year, according to mid-year data released today from Nielsen SoundScan.

But while there’s good news from Eminem and country trio Lady Antebellum, overall album sales are down 11%, compared with the first half of 2009. There is growth in the digital sector, but evidence that it’s slowing. Digital album sales are up 13.7% compared with the same period last year, while sales of digital tracks are flat. Both finished 2009 on an upswing, with digital album sales ending last year up 16.1% and digital track sales wrapping 2009 up 8.3%.

Yet digital album sales were stronger in the first quarter of 2010, up nearly 16% from last year’s first quarter, and a busy fall and winter release schedule can certainly put 2010 on par. Digital albums now account for 27.4% of all album purchases, up from 21.5% at this time last year.

While digital track sales are indeed flat overall, singles sold better in the second quarter than in the first. Digital tracks in the first quarter were down about 0.9%, and up a half percentage point in the second. Strong-performing singles from the likes of Katy Perry and Eminem have boosted numbers. Yet if the upward pace doesn’t continue, industry trade Billboard notes that 2010 could be the first year that digital sales did not see an increase since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking the format in 2004.


Looking at individual formats, CD sales are down about 14% for the first quarter. Vinyl sales continue to be a bright spot, although a niche one, with sales up 9.1%. Catalog sales, defined as releases 18 months or older, are down about 8.5%.

As for this week’s chart, Eminem’s “Recovery” leads for the second straight week. Newcomers into the top 10 include The-Dream’s “Love King,” which lands at No. 4 with 58,000 copies sold, and 3OH!3’s “Streets of Gold,” which enters at No. 7 with 41,000 copies sold.

Justin Bieber’s “My World 2.0,” at No. 6, adds an additional 41,000 to its tally, and has now sold close to 1.4 million. Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” sits at No. 10, racking up an additional 30,000 in sales, pushing its total to above 2.3 million.

-- Todd Martens

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