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We know you haven’t been hiding in a cave (for one thing, most don’t have broadband connections), but even someone following the decline in album sales would be wide-eyed at this story from “For the week ending May 30, the U.S. music industry sold a total of 4.9 million albums, according to Nielsen Soundscan. This figure, which includes new and catalog releases, represents the fewest number of albums sold in one week since Soundscan began compiling this data in 1994.”

By comparison, album sales for the week ending May 31, 2009, totaled 5.76 million. The highest one-week tally recorded during the Soundscan era is 45.4 million albums, in late December, 2000. Whatever the comparison, the story notes “industry executives agree that this week’s album sales total of 4.98 million units is ‘pretty scary,’ in the words of Bruce Ogilvie, CEO of leading music wholesaler Super D.

One area where sales are still strong? Digital track sales for the week totaled 21.7 million, but are distinct from the album sales tally.  Read the story and find out where you can find free audiophile music online.

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