Carl Bialik from the WSJ writes "Sales picked up for the record labels late last year, but 2005 has been bleak. The Wall Street Journal ticks off evidence: 'During the crucial Thanksgiving week, for instance, the top 10 albums sold 40% fewer copies than the top 10 albums the same week in 2004. ... Sales of individual digital tracks on services like Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Music Store have increased -- but not nearly enough to offset the slide in CD sales. According to an estimate from SoundScan, overall sales of recorded music are down about 4.5%, if one considers 10 individual tracks the equivalent of an album.' The WSJ also lists familiar reasons for the decline -- 'online piracy, CD burning, high prices and competition for consumer dollars from videogames and DVDs' -- while adding, 'Lately, people in the music industry have said the same basic issues have been intensified by the growing popularity of pricey gadgets like Apple's iPod and Microsoft Corp.'s Xbox 360, as well as the rising prices for games that go with the new platform.'"
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