Album sales for all types of music have seen a boost this year, but most notably country music, with a 5.6 percent increase from last year's 30.3 million albums sold, The (Nashville) Tennessean reported Sunday.
"Given that the volume of sales is already up at this point in time and with the next month historically the biggest selling season of the year, there is certainly good reason to be optimistic, though nothing is guaranteed," said Jim Donio, president of the National Association of Recording Merchandisers, a music business association.
"But certainly the growth of digital tracks and albums bodes well for the future, and the integration of music on Facebook is something that may have bigger impact through 2012."
Before the holiday shopping season begins, the Country Music Association Awards are expected to give a boost to year-end sales, especially for albums and artists who win awards, the newspaper said. After last year's broadcast, artists such as Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Sugarland all saw 100 percent-plus jumps in album sales.
Rich Barnet, a professor of music business at Middle Tennessee State University, says one factor helping album sales is country music fans' extreme loyalty to the genre.
"A country fan will buy at least one other recording when they buy their favorite act's recording," Barnet said. "When a Taylor Swift fan buys a download or physical product, they are in the shopping mood and spend some more time in the online store or in the Target bins."
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