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Album sales spiked 3 percent last year, the first time there’s been a gain since 2004.
According to Nielsen Soundscan, 2011 ended with 458 million albums sold — a number which reflects both an increase in digital sales and the popularity of artists including Adele, Lady Gaga and Michael Buble.
Adele’s smash hit record, 21, sold 5.8 million copies, creating a domino effect of renewed interest in her 2008 debut, 19, which spurred sales of 856,000 as a result of her sophomore success.
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Lady Gaga — who last May offered fans a steep discount of 99 cents for Born This Way in an Amazon.com sale — saw sales of 2.1 million for that record; Michael Buble, who transcends generations with his pop standards, bested Gaga with 2.5 million copies sold.
Other 2011 top sellers: Lil’ Wayne (Tha Carter IV); Justin Bieber (Under The Mistletoe); Drake (Take Care); Jason Aldean (My Kinda Party); Lady Antebellum (Own The Night); Mumford and Sons (Sigh No More), and Jay-Z and Kanye West (Watch The Throne).
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Meanwhile, digital album sales jumped 20 percent from 86 million in 2010 to 103 million last year; as for CDs, sales dropped almost six percent to 224 million, underscoring a public turnaround for digital music including singles, which saw an increase of 8.5 percent.
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