Digital music overtakes physical media sales

For the first time, digital downloads were more popular than buying a CD or record in the United States in 2011. Digital music made up 50.3 percent of purchases, up 8.4 percent from the year before, while physical sales were down 5 percent, PCWorld reported today.

Nielsen and Billboard used album sales as their metric, and counted downloads of 10 individual songs as an “album.” When measured this way, overall album sales were up for the first time since 2004.

Digital music consumers tend to buy rock and alternative music genres, with rock albums making up nearly 38.6 million in digital sales, according to Rolling Stone.

In 2011, the top-selling artist was Adele, with more than 5.8 million copies sold across formats (1.8 million digital copies, and more than 5.8 million digital singles of “Rolling in the Deep”).

Image: .KyKy.’s flickr photostream

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