Album sales are down 6.1 percent in the first 3 month of 2010 compared to the same period in 2009, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
They add that for the first time, iTunes and CD sales online have passed the traditional big box retailers.
Amazon and their digital brethren now make up the largest distribution channel for music, and for good reason.
Big boxers like Walmart, Target, and Best Buy have dropped the ball when challenged with stocking a satisfactory variety of the newest music being released.
You'll always find the A-list performers in their racks, but you are hard pressed to find a deep selection of new music representing a variety of artists from different niche genres.
Jazz, soul, and R&B are frequent victims of this trend.
Bookstores including Encore and Barnes and Noble do a better job stocking tunes, but as with the big box stores, music sales no longer represent a growth area.
The digital music download world is hurting too.
Nielsen SoundScan says that downloads experienced their first year-to-year quarterly sales decline ever, falling about 1 percent between January 1 and April 4.
In the same period in 2009, digital download sales were up 13 percent over 2008.
CD's will eventually go the way of the horse and buggy, just as electric vehicles will slowly take market share from gas engine cars.
Computers inevitably crash, and unless you back everything up, there's still a better element of permanency when investing in compact discs.
The CD for many is still an important part of their music collection.
Once upon a time, the best place in town to salivate over new releases and bountiful catalogs was the record store.
I worked in an independent record store for 3 years part-time as a teenager.
Today, only the bigger cities can still support the few independent record emporiums that are left.
In Philadelphia, my favorite is Sound of Market Street, surviving in 2010 with an awesome collection of CD's (and vinyl discs).
2022 Update: Sound of Market Street finally closed in 2014 after 30 years in business.
A worldwide event has been created to spotlight stores just like Sound of Market (JazSound).
Saturday, April 17 will mark the 3rd annual Record Store Day.
RecordStoreDay.com says that the original idea for this promotion was "conceived by Chris Brown, and was founded in 2007 by Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colliton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave and Brian Poehner as a celebration of the unique culture surrounding over 700 independently owned record stores in the USA, and hundreds of similar stores internationally."
The website further amplifies the concept explaining "this is the one day that all of the independently owned record stores come together with artists to celebrate the art of music."
"Special vinyl and CD releases and various promotional products are made exclusively for the day and hundreds of artists in the United States and in various countries across the globe make special appearances and performances."
Record Store Day is now celebrated on the 3rd Saturday every April.
At RecordStoreDay.com, I did a random 'search by state' to see what was happening in Texas. Over 50 independent record stores came up in the Lone Star State, so there still is a heartbeat left in this disappearing institution that's now on life-support.