U.S. Music Sales Gain as Adele Spurs Downloads

U.S. music sales rose 6.9 percent in 2011 as consumer purchases of albums increased for the first time since 2004, propelled by digital downloads.

Overall sales of albums, single tracks and music videos increased to 1.61 billion units, Nielsen Co. and Billboard magazine said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Total album sales expanded 1.3 percent to 330.6 million.

Sales of digital albums climbed 19.5 percent from last year, fueled by demand for Adele’s “21.” The album, nominated in November for six Grammy awards, sold 5.8 million copies in all formats, making the release distributed by Sony Music the year’s best-seller, the companies said.

Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group controlled 29.9 percent of U.S. music sales in 2011, while Sony Corp. (6758)’s music unit accounted for 29.3 percent, Nielsen and Billboard said. Warner Music Group garnered 19.1 percent and EMI Group (EMI) controlled 9.6 percent, according to the statement.

Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” single sold 5.81 million digital copies in 2011, making it the best-selling download of the year, according to the statement. That was followed by LMFAO’s “Party Rock Anthem,” with 5.47 million downloads, and Katy Perry’s “E.T.,” which sold 4.83 million digital tracks.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andy Fixmer in Los Angeles at afixmer@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net

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