For the first time since Nielson SoundScan began counting, U.S. album sales have dipped below 5 million units for 5 consecutive weeks. Just 4.69 million albums were sold during the week ending July 28, the lowest since the launch of SoundScan in May of 1991.
An analysis by Billboard's Ed Christman showed that that recorded music industry had been filtering with the five million sales mark since May of 2010. Most studies suggest that streaming music is not to blame, but as one industry observer told Christman, "just because he couldn't prove cannibalization through analysis, he couldn't definitively say it's not happening".
Slower growth in downloads isn't helping, and another culprit is CD sales - down 14.1% to 88.8 million the first 7 months of 2013, according the analysis.