Digital retail enjoys record week

By | January 6, 2007 at 9:40 PM

U.S. digital download sales hit a new all-time high the week after
Christmas, with 30.1 million tracks sold, according to Nielsen
SoundScan. The downloading frenzy capped a year in which all digital
track sales totaled more than 581 million units — a 65% gain against
2005.
Proving that sales of digital music closely follow the ebb
and flow of physical music purchases, the biggest online sales weeks
for the industry are coinciding with the holiday-selling season. And
sales in that season are growing, year over year.
The flurry of downloading in the final week of the year marks
a 51% jump from the 19.9 million digital tracks sold during the same
seven-day span a year ago. That was the previous record holder for the
number of tracks sold in a given week.
But track sales aren’t just up year over year. Week over week
they also jumped, rising 108% versus sales of 14.5 million tracks in
the seven-day span before Christmas. And total digital track volume
wasn’t the only metric to experience a new high in the torrent of
downloading.

Fergie’s “Fergalicious” also set a new record for the most tracks sold in a single week with sales of 294,000 downloads.
That one-ups the previous single-week record set by Shakira
with “Hips Don’t Lie” six months earlier. That song was downloaded more
than 266,000 times the week ending June 17,
2006.

The week after Christmas has begun to regularly produce a new high watermark for track sales. A year ago, D4L’s “Laffy
Taffy” set a then one-week record when it took the top spot
with 175,000 tracks sold. Comparing post-Christmas weeks, the new mark
set by Fergie is 68% better than the volume experienced by “Laffy
Taffy” sales in the same week a year ago.
Also up is the number of tracks that have sold more than
100,000 in a single week. A total of 11 songs crossed that threshold a
year ago against 15 songs this year. And in a new twist this time, a
total of four tracks sold more than 200,000 downloads. Prior to the
week after Christmas 2006, only two songs had ever sold more than that.
Credit a lot of this activity to another big iPod sales year.
Final numbers aren’t out, but analyst forecasts had Apple shipping a
record 16 million in its December quarter, up from
14 million the same time a year ago.

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