New figures from Nielsen Soundscan show that digital music sales are contiuing to grow albeit at a slower rate than previous years. While year-on-year growth has dropped from more than 160% for 2005 over 2004 to 65% growth for 2006 over 2005 with total sales of 581.9 million tracks.

Given the rocket-like start to digital music sales driven by the popularity of Apple’s iPod/iTunes combo, a cooling of growth is to be expected. However, the confusing restrictions imposed by conflicting DRMs and incompatibility across platforms, especally between digital audio players and mobile phones, it’s no wonder consumers may be taking a step back, waiting to see whether the industry can sort itself out and focus more on their needs than the industry’s need to prop up existing business structures.