The Nielsen Company has injected a positive note into the industry debate around recorded music sales, by claiming that overall sales are UP 1.6% in the US so far in 2011. While physical sales are down, Nielsen says that digital album and track purchases are up 16.8% and 9.6% respectively. The Beatles are part of the reason apparently – catalogue album sales are up 5.4% fuelled by iTunes sales of the Fab Four’s albums – although there are other factors. “Strong releases and aggressive promotions by the labels and retailers are among the many contributing factors to the strength we’re seeing in the music industry,” says Nielsen’s SVP analytics Dave Bakula. “Overall, the data reflects a continuing strong demand by music consumers.” It’s not all good news though: Vivendi’s latest financial results reveal that Universal Music Group’s revenues were down 5% in Q1 to $881 million (around $1.26 billion), with recorded music sales specifically slipping by 2.7% – although its digital sales were up 17.6% year-on-year. UMG’s EBITA was $46 million ($65.8 million) for the quarter, down 32.4% year-on-year. Source: Vivendi

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