Recent figures from Neilsen Soundscan published in Variety has revealed that in the States music sales are down 21% this Christmas.

Stats that cover the music sales from Thanksgiving to Christmas Eve show that in 2007, 83.9 million albums were sold, down 21.4 million from last year.

A 20% drop from one year to the next is a huge drop, and much more than can be explained away as a blip.

The death of the CD has been much covered by all kinds of press, not just tech sources, with the increased popularity of sites like iTunes, and in the States, Amazon MP3 and eMusic that is the reason.

Of course the big attraction of some of the music now available to download in the States is that it's DRM-free, with three of the big four labels offering such tunes via Amazon's service.

And, with the RIAA recently describing backup MP3 tracks ripped from CDs as "unauthorized copies", you can see the attraction.