U.S. album sales for the first half of 2012 slumped after seeing growth last year, while digital track sales rose, according to music sales figures released by Nielsen SoundScan — as reported by “Reuters” (http://macte.ch/Tr31X).

At mid-year 2012, album sales were down 3% from 2011 at 150.5 million units sold over the last six months. However, digital song sales rose 6% with 698 million tracks downloaded since January. Overall music figures for physical and digital album and single sales showed a 4%t increase, with 853.2 million sold so far in 2012.

“While retail sales continue to face challenges related to broader market trends, digital sales gains are expected to achieve another record-breaking year,” said David Bakula, senior vice president of client development at Nielsen, in a statement.