Major music labels try to staunch drop in CD sales with new USB format singles

DailyTech reported not long ago that iTunes is now the largest music seller -- Apple announced in September that iTunes had sold 3 billion downloads since it started selling music. The massive move from hard copies of music to digital downloads has the record companies looking to sell its own digital singles.

Rather than offer the digital singles as downloads like iTunes, Universal Music announced that it would begin to release its singles on USB flash drives this month in an attempt to gain more sales volume. One reason Universal wants to stay with a physical product rather than a digital download is that the retail margins are better on physical copies of music.

The first digital tracks to be released from Universal will be from Keane on October 29 and Nicole, the lead singer of the Pussycat Dolls.  The USB singles will retail in the UK for about $10 USD. A CD single of the same tune retails for about $6 USD.

Universal UK’s commercial director Brian Rose told The Times Online UK that, “This is aimed at the younger, 12 to 24 year olds, who no longer believe that the CD is as cool as it used to be.” Many music fans in that age group won’t be swayed to a new digital format that is more expensive and less convenient than a digital download.

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