Music sales on the rise

U.S. album sales rose 5.4% in the first half of 1997, marking a turnaround for the $12 billion music industry, whose sales have been flat for the past two years, Soundscan Inc. said Thursday.

U.S. stores sold 288 million albums from January through June, compared with 273 million in the year-ago period, said the Hartsdale, N.Y.-based company, which monitors retail music sales.

A Soundscan spokeswoman said U.S. album sales showed strong growth in the first quarter, rising 8.6% from a year ago to 147.7 million units.

Sales were led by the Spice Girls, the British female pop group that sold 2.7 million copies of its debut album on EMI’s Virgin label, she said.

The band No Doubt, which is signed with Interscope, also sold strongly.

Among the world’s six big music labels, Warner Music remained the U.S. market share leader with 18.75% of the U.S. album market, Soundscan said.

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