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Digital music track sales surpass 1 billion

December 17, 2008 |  3:52 pm


Annual sales of digital songs will surpass 1 billion downloads this year, a first for the struggling music industry.

Nielsen SoundScan predicted in April that music downloads would reach this milestone, and with two weeks remaining in the year, that forecast appears to be proving accurate.

Individual song downloads will reach about 1,040,000 for the year, with the top 200 tracks accounting for 17% of sales. The best-selling digital song of the year is Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love," which sold 3.3 million downloads.

Still, that's not enough to offset the decline in CD sales. This year's album sales are off 45% from the same time in 2000. A recent Forrester Research report projects that disc sales will continue to fall by an annual rate of 8% a year over the next five years.

-- Dawn C. Chmielewski

Chart Source: Nielsen SoundScan