Billboard reported that US Album sales dropped 12.8% to 326.2 million units for the 52 weeks ending January 2nd.  That compares to 373.9 million units sold in 2009.  Digging into the numbers:

CD Sales > Down nearly 20% for the fourth year in a row

Digital Tracks > 1% increase to 1.17 billion units

Digital Album Downloads > 13% increase to 86.3 million units, or about 26.5% of all album sales

Taken together, the combined sales of albums and track equivalent albums (TEA: 10 tracks = 1 album) fell 9.5% to 443.4 million units, down from 489.8 million units in 2009.  Soundscan reported that only 13 albums scanned more than one million units: a new low, and down from 22 in 2009.

Viva la Vinyl!

Although it is a drop in the bit bucket when looking at unit sales, Rolling Stone reports that vinyl sales increased by 14% in 2010, with 2.8 million units sold.  Although that’s just over one-half of 1% of TEA sales, it represents the best year for vinyl since 1991.

The best-selling vinyl album of 2010 was the Beatles’ Abbey Road, and new albums with the best sales were Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, the Black Keys’ Brothers, Vampire Weekend’s Contra, and the National’s High Violet.