'06 sales lag, but digital jumps


The RIAA's annual shipment statistical analysis shows that overall U.S. sales totaled $11.5 billion in 2006, down 6.2%, but digital sales of albums more than doubled.

The industry group tracked $1.6 billion in digital music transactions — which accounted for nearly 14% of overall 2006 music sales — a 21.6% increase from 2005. Within that, the RIAA said that 586.4 million digital tracks and 27.6 million albums were downloaded for revenue of $856.5 million. A la carte singles were up 59.8% from the 366.9 million counted in 2005, and albums were up 103.3%.

Mobile registered 315.3 million transactions, which accounted for $774.5 million of the digital bottom line.

Additionally, 1.7 million subscriptions — which the RIAA

didn't reflect in the digital total — on a weighted annual average basis, yielded $206.2 million.

Looking at packaged goods, the RIAA tracked 642.6 million units, which generated $9.65 billion in sales, down 13.8% from 2005. CD album sales on a unit basis totaled 614.9 million, or $9.16 billion, down about 12.9% from 2005.

Ed Christman is a senior correspondent for Billboard.