Plummeting CD sales—it’s become a holiday tradition for the music industry. And this year, what with the recession and all, things have certainly been no different. Coolfer has the latest SoundScan numbers and they’re not pretty. Fourth quarter CD sales are down a whopping 22 percent compared to the same period last year—that’s 45 percent compared to 2000 numbers (according to the LA Times)—and a Forrester Research report expects CD sales to continue to fall over the next five years at a rate of 8 percent a year. In 2008, sales dropped 20.4 percent in September, 19.4 in October, and 21.4 last month. Not even the hugely-anticipated Chinese Democracy, whose release last month has been met with rapidly diminishing sales, could save us this year.
Fortunately, there are a few silver linings to this wintry mess. As Rollingstone.com reports, indy retail stores are actually doing better this year than last. Though in this economy, “better” means that their album sales only decreased 8.6 percent. Then there’s Starbucks and online music stores, who’s sales figures have increased 8.7 percent. That may have something to do with the fact that digital song sales this year are expected to surpass 1 billion for the first time in history. According to the LA Times, song downloads will hit 1,040,000 by the end of year. Tunes on the Top 200 account for a full 17 percent of that figure. Hmm… It looks like Leona Lewis has a purpose to serve after all.