04:01 PM

Last Week Of 2005 Set Record For Digital Music Downloads

The downloads were apparently driven in part by gift cards and one of the most popular gifts of the holiday season, Apple's iPod.

The number of music tracks downloaded from the Internet during the last week of 2005 reached a record 19.9 million, Nielsen Soundscan said Monday.

The downloads, apparently driven in part by gift cards and one of the most popular gifts of the holiday season, Apple Computer Inc.'s iPod, were more than double the previous record of 9.5 million the week before. The final week of the year, Dec. 26, 2005, to Jan. 1, 2006, marked the first time single tracks outsold digital album sales, which numbered 16.8 million units.

Total album sales, including CDs, LPs and digital albums, declined in 2005 by 7.2 percent to 618.9 million from 666.7 million in 2004, Nielsen said. Digital album sales, however, rose 194 percent to 16.2 million from 5.5 million, and digital track sales increased 150 percent to 352.7 million from 140.9 million.

Two digital songs broke the 1 million sales mark in 2005, "Hollaback Girl" by Gwen Stefani and "Gold Digger" by Kanye West.

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