Usually when we’re writing about album sales, it’s about how shitty they are as people continue to buy albums less and less. However, with less than three months left in 2011, things are looking up for this year. In fact, they’re on track to increase from the previous year, the first time that’s happened since 2004. An article in Billboard states that at the end of the third quarter, album sales stand at 228.5 million for the year, up 3.3% from the 221.1 million from the corresponding time last year. If you take track equivalents (aka, 10 track downloads = 1 album download), album sales have actually jumped 5.4%.

Digital sales are the main reason for the increase, and physical sales had a decline from last year. However, even the decline is up. Sales have decreased 3.6% this year, but in each of the five previous years, album sales declined between 18% and 20%. So what’s this attributed to? Adele certainly has something to do with it, as she’s sold 3.8 million copies of her album 21. But the digital format in general really increased, with scans going up 19.7% for the first nine months of the year, an impressive increase. With Nickelback about to release a new album, it looks like we’re going to wind up the year with an even nicer increase. What’s that have to do with metal? Well, last week certainly didn’t hurt things. And for as much press Spotify and the like are getting, it goes to show that if people really like an album, they’ll buy it.