Prompted by the news that the week ending August 14 was the worst for album sales in all of recorded history (that would be 1991 to the present — thanks, Nielsen SoundScan!), our buddy Caitlin Kenney over at the Planet Money blog posted a nifty little graph this afternoon that shows the rise and fall of record sales by year over the period from 1993 to 2009, co-starring the utter inability of the rise in digital sales to make up for the overall decline.
Don't look for this trend to change course in 2010. As Billboard points out, even digital sales are down this year, off 1% from 2009's numbers. As it happens, digital track sales will still make up a larger percentage of the total sales of recorded music in 2010 than they did in 2009 since album sales overall are down 12%.