Nielsen Soundscan data is repoting that U.S. music sales are up for the first half of 2011. These numbers are through the week ending July 3. Album sales were up almost 1%.
According to TechCrunch: 155.5 million albums were sold in the U.S. in the first six months of 2011, compared to the 153.9 million albums sold at this time last year, resulting in that slim 1 percent hike. Of course, when one includes single-track downloads (generally speaking, 10 songs are the equivalent of an album) the number of albums sold comes to 221.5 million, resulting in a 3.6 percent rise.
These numbers are not exactly a breakthrough. I don't think the record labels will be doing a dance yet considering Adele is the number one record and she sold just over 2 million copies.
It's going to take a few more reporting periods to see if the trend continues.