US music sales are rebounding, according to figures released last week by Nielsen SoundScan.

US album sales for the first half of 2004 are running 7 per cent of sales last year, indicating that the US music business may be about to emerge from its three-year slump. 305.7 million albums sold in the first half of this year in comparison with 285.9 million in the year-ago period.

Digital music downloads are also exploding in the US, suggesting renewed interest in music and a steady understanding on behalf of consumers that musicians need to be paid.

"Nearly 54 million" tracks were purchased during the first 26 weeks of the year, according to SoundScan. There were just 19.2 million paid downloads during the second half of last year. The figures indicate digital downloads per week have already reached 2.4 million.

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