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US Album sales take a nose dive at Christmas

The latest Nielsen Soundscan (opens in new tab) report revealed that the slump of traditional audio CDs is continuing at a worrying pace while the Recording Industry Association of America is resorting to some desperate measures to stop illegal copying.

Overall Music sales in the US were down by 21 percent with an estimated 84 million albums sold, down from 105 million. Obviously, the first explanation for such a massive slump can be found in the growing popularity of digital downloads.

Apple's iTunes gift cards have been popular gifts over the holiday period and Apple's iPod range make up 30 percent of Amazon UK electronics and computing top 10 sellers.

Some also argue that major label publishers are being punished for their lack of imagination and innovation as they churn out rehashed music, cover versions and greatest hits in record numbers.

With Microsoft's pushing the Zune and Amazon also jumping on the DRM-free bandwagon, it is only a matter of years before albums join the ranks of vinyl discs.

In other news, Engadget (opens in new tab) reports that the RIAA is playing hard ball with customers who rip their legally purchased audio CDs into MP3 files, although a judge has yet to prove that producing files for your personal use is illegal.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.