Country music album sales are down nearly 30% so far this year. That might seem slightly less dramatic against the whole industry's 15% slide, but country’s been the biz’s final remaining hold-out—holding nearly even in 2005 and 2006 amid the digital revolution. So the newest dive may signal the last beachhead is broken, BusinessWeek reports.
Skeptics point to upcoming Wynonna Judd and Rascal Flatts releases, saying there’s bounty yet to be had in 2007 sales. Experts think country’s figures have held steady for so long because downloading is less popular among the genre’s fans. One industry hand—er, industry card—blamed the Civil War’s devastating legacy: “Fewer people in Tennessee can afford computers and iPods.”