According to BBC News, sales of albums in the US dropped by 14% in 2008, but thanks to a surge in digital purchases, the overall figure rose. Digital album sales went up 32%, while singles were 27% up on 2007, according to Nielson SoundScan.
Album sales across all musical genres suffered a downturn, with rock and metal holding up the strongest. Classical musical fared the worst, sliding 26%. It is the seventh time in eight years that album sales have dropped in the US.
With the increase use of iTunes it is no wonder that digital music sales have an influence over all musical sales. It will be interesting to see what happens in the future as more and more people go online for music. Personally I think it is more cost effective for the consumer. I was recently in a big music chain store in the City where they were advertising a "huge" sale. The prices didn't seem that low to me. Buying music online is quicker and you have a huge catalog of music at your fingertips.