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Arts and Entertainment

Album Sales Up for First Time in 7 Years

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Strong sales of new releases from the top ladies in song and multiple reissues of classic albums made the first half of 2011 the best 6 months for album sales since 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The one percent increase in sales is little more than a tiny bright spot for an industry which has gone into a tailspin over the past decade. The major labels failed to capitalize on emerging digital distribution models early on and do not look to be in a position to recover any time soon.

155.5 million albums were sold over the first six months of 2011 compared to 153.9 million for the same period last year. Digital track sales are growing at a faster pace, up 10 percent to 660 million, according to CNET. Digital album sales are up 20 percent, according to the L.A. Times. Vinyl sales are up over 40 percent.

One thing is clear so far in 2011: female solo artists are owning the charts, with London's Adele leading the way (her latest, "21" has sold more than 2.5 million units). The year's 20 top-selling albums so far according to Billboard include the latest releases from Adele, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Pink (Greatest Hits), and Nicki Minaj (2010 release). And Beyoncé's latest, "4," debuted at No. 1 this week.

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via Billboard.com.