Music sales around the world are showing two distinct trends. Firstly, hard copy sales are dropping like a stone. Even with digital music sales rising to $945 million for the first six months of 2006, double the figure for 2005, physical music sales have declined by 10 percent. Overall sales dropped nearly 5% to $13.billion, according to the IFPI.

Though digital sales are growing, that rate of growth is slowing. Naysayers point to an unhealthy balance in the market coupled with increased restrictions and confusion over formats and portability. Dramatic and affirmative action is required not only from the labels (not likely) but also the digital music services themselves. The addition of yet another player and platform in Zune will only serve to muddy the waters further rather than create healthy competition and most importantly choice.