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Vinyl and Digital Sales Surge Amidst Overall Music Industry Slump

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Tim Whitby, Getty Images

Nielsen SoundScan has tallied the sales numbers for the year so far, and while the overall picture isn’t terribly encouraging, there are signs that gains in the digital sector may make up for the softening CD market.

Sales are down 4.4 percent on the year, but as Billboard points out, that drop is due to the way CD sales have continued to crater in 2012 — 129.7 million units were sold during the first nine months of the year, down from 151.6 million units over the same period last year. Adele‘s ’21’ makes up the largest chunk of those numbers, with four million units sold.

While CD sales continue to fade, digital is up more than 15 percent on the year; unfortunately, that bump isn’t enough to make up for the CD’s loss — and it’s the same story for vinyl sales, which are up more than 16 percent, but still make up less than two percent of total sales.

At least one thing has stayed the same: Catalog sales are still driving the market. In fact, they’re actually up on the year by nearly four percent, while new releases have suffered another steep drop — 11.5 percent compared to the first nine months of 2011.

How do the numbers square with your personal music purchases this year? Have you been buying fewer CDs — and fewer new releases?

Next: See This Month's New Music Releases

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