Whitesburg KY
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Nearby CD store victim of album sales slump

A continuing decline in CD album sales across the nation has taken its toll on the area’s only independent music store.

Dad’s CDs in Wise, Va., announced last week that it will be closing on January 31 after serving the area for 10 years. The announcement coincided with news that the sale of CDs, cassettes, LPs and other album formats were down 15 percent in 2007 from 2006. Overall, U.S. album sales plunged 9.5 percent despite a 45 percent surge in the sale of digital tracks.

“It is with a very heavy heart that I must announce the closing of Dad’s CDs,” the store’s coowner, Charles Fontaine, said in an e-mail message. “In the last 10 years this store has brought me much joy and happiness … and I think that Wise and the surrounding counties benefited from it being here. I know that I will miss it.”

Fontaine said the store will be having a liquidation sale until it closes.

The recording industry has seen CD album sales decline for years, in part due to the rise of online file-sharing, but also as consumers have spent more of their leisure dollars on other entertainment purchases, such as DVDs and video games.

Things are so bad in the music business now that 2007’s largest selling album was “Noel,” a collection of Christmas songs by artist Josh Groban which sold around 3.7 million copies.

A soundtrack for The Walt Disney Co.’s popular “High School Musical” franchise was second with around 2.9 million units sold.

The Eagles’ comeback album, “Long Road Out of Eden,” scored the third spot, selling around 2.6 million copies, despite being independently released and available for purchase only at Wal-Mart stores.

Three out of the five top-selling albums for the year were released late in the fourth quarter.

Among last year’s other top selling albums were a “Hannah Montana” soundtrack and offerings from Alicia Keys, Fergie and “American Idol” alum Doughtry.

While fewer people were buying albums in stores in 2007, an increased number were going online to buy single copies of songs.

About 844.2 million digital tracks sold in 2007, compared to 588.2 million in 2006.

Last year, Apple Inc.’s iTunes Music Store became the thirdlargest music retailer in the U.S.

One trend that should prove encouraging to record labels: 50 million albums were downloaded last year, a 53 percent uptick.

“That says consumers are embracing both the track format and the digital album format,” said Rob Sisco, president of Nielsen Music.

In all, 23 percent of music sales were derived from digital purchases, Sisco said.

A report released in November by Jupiter Research LLC forecast digital music sales will continue to grow to $2.8 billion, comprising 34 percent of U.S. consumer spending on music in 2012.

The recording industry continued to benefit from mobile music, with mobile phone owners buying 220 million ringtones, the firm said.

Compiled from Mountain Eagle and Associated Press reports.

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