We had half-year sales figures for the British music industry last week, but now it’s the turn of the US as Nielsen and Billboard revealed their latest stats. Total album sales were down 3.2% to 150.5m units, but digital album sales rose 13.8% to 57.2m units. Digital track sales rose 5.6% to 698m.

Digging into digital, 47 downloads have passed 1m sales in the first half of 2012, while 15 have passed 2m. As in the UK, Gotye is a big digital winner in the US with 5.5m downloads of Somebody I Used to Know. Digital sales account for 57.7% of overall album and track equivalent music sales, up from 53% a year ago.

Those are the stats, so what are the trends? As with the BPI, Nielsen said streaming services are growing, but didn’t publish figures with the half-year announcement. “The strength in other monetized digital formats, including music streaming services, is equally encouraging,” said Nielsen’s David Bakula.

The UK comparison is interesting, though. The US’ album-sales fall of 3.2% compares to a steeper decline of 13.8% in the UK, although with digital album sales rising 13.8% and 17.3% respectively, the UK may be following the US pattern, just a bit behind on the curve.

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