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Album sales are down, but vinyl sales and digital streams are booming

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Nielsen’s music numbers for 2014 are in, and the news is predictably grim. Overall album sales are down 11 percent to 257 million, which is the equivalent of 80 percent of the U.S. population buying just one album in a 12 month period. Digital album and track sales are both down again (by 9 and 12 percent, respectively) after slipping for the first time in 2013. Future’s “Move That Dope” isn’t even in the top 10 best-selling songs. (“Happy,” “All of Me,” and “Dark Horse” unsurprisingly took the top spots.)

There are a couple of bright spots in the report, though. Overall streams are up a whopping 54 percent to 164 billion, or about 23 streams per person for the entire population of Earth, reflecting a growing consumer preference for streaming rather than owning music. And vinyl’s up as well, albeit on a much smaller scale, at 9.2 million units sold–a 52-percent increase over last year. That makes 2014 the biggest year for vinyl sales since Nielsen introduced its SoundScan sales tracking system in 1991.