While the decline was only a fraction of a per cent, it suggests that the market is now hitting saturation point.
The introduction of greater price flexibility - where key new releases are selling for $1.29 (?0.85) instead of $0.99 (?0.65) - has been taken as the major contributory factor.
The record industry, however, can take comfort in the fact that the digital albums market continues to power ahead. Download sales of albums grew by 12.7% to 42.2m units.
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