I prefer (legal) downloading to buying nowadays.

Album sales down for midyear count
Unless the rest of 2005 ushers in Usher clones, the record industry could be backsliding into a familiar slump.
A year ago, album sales were ahead of 2003. This year, sales trail 2004 by about 7%, and that’s before the weekly tallies go against last fall’s streak of increasingly hefty hauls.
Hopes for a solid turnaround were pinned on 2004’s tiny growth spurt, the first since 2000. That victory may be short-lived. So far this year, consumers have bought 282.6 million albums, compared with 303.0 million by midyear 2004, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sales of digital tracks continue to skyrocket, with 158.8 million tracks sold this year vs. 55 million in the first half of 2004. But 99-cent downloads can’t offset the losses of CDs costing up to $18.
“It’s a disappointing first half, but it’s probably too early to panic,” says Geoff Mayfield, Billboard’s director of charts. “The top 10 is not as strong as it was last year. At the same time, we’ve seen a few artists capture their best SoundScan weeks ever in this period.”
Norah Jones and Usher dominated early 2004, with the latter winning the year-end race after selling roughly 8 million copies of Confessions. 50 Cent’s The Massacre is on a similar track, but he’ll need help. So far only three albums have exceeded sales of 2 million copies. At this stage in 2004, five had.
“There’s reason for concern,” Mayfield says. “But how a second half fares may have less do with what’s out than with what’s coming, and we know the last four months are always chock-full of big releases.”
50 Cent is midyear heavyweight
50 Cent’s Massacre, the top-selling album of 2005 at the year’s halfway point, has almost double the sales of the runner-up, the resurgent Mariah Carey’s The Emancipation of Mimi.
Seventeen albums have surpassed the 1 million mark this year.
Figures, supplied by Nielsen SoundScan, represent 2005 sales to date.
Rank/artist Title Sales (in millions)
1. 50 Cent Massacre* 4.02
2. Mariah Carey The Emancipation of Mimi* 2.30
3. The Game Documentary* 2.11
4. Green Day American Idiot 1.93
5. Kelly Clarkson Breakaway 1.60
6. Gwen Stefani Love Angel Music Baby 1.52
7. Coldplay X&Y* 1.38
8. The Killers Hot Fuss 1.31
9. various Now 18* 1.21
10. Eminem Encore 1.16
11. Jack Johnson In Between Dreams* 1.16
12. Ciara Goodies 1.16
13. John Legend Get Lifted 1.15
14. Rascal Flatts Feels Like Today 1.08
15. Ray Charles Genius Loves Company 1.05
16. System of a Down Mezmerize* 1.03
17. Usher Confessions 1.00
18. Dave Matthews Band Stand Up* .99
19. Kenny Chesney Be as You Are* .98
20. 3 Doors Down Seventeen Days* .94
21. Ludacris Red Light District .87
22. Rob Thomas Something to Be* .84
23. Fantasia Free Yourself .84
24. Lil’ Jon & the East Side Boyz Crunk Juice .83
25. Toby Keith Honkytonk University* .78
* 2005 release