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Album sales show first gain since 2004

Interest in Grammy frontrunner Adele has fueled U.S album sales. Dave Hogan

(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - Thanks to Adele, Lady Gaga and some successful Christmas albums, U.S. album sales rose more than 3 percent last year for the first gain since 2004.

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The uptick to 458 million album sales was helped by Adele's hugely popular sophomore album "21," which sold 5.8 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Temporarily bounced from the top spot on the Billboard charts by holiday music, "21" is back on top this week. Huge interest in Adele, a Grammy frontrunner, also led to the sales of 856,000 copies of "19," her debut album from 2008.

Michael Buble's "Christmas," which was released in late October and had a long run at the top of the charts, racked up 2.5 million album sales. Justin Bieber's "Under the Mistletoe" also performed well at year's end.

Earlier in the year, Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" sold 2.1 million, boosted by a massive sale at Amazon.com for a heavily discounted 99 cents.

Digital album sales rose nearly 20 percent to 103 million, while CDs fell nearly 6 percent to 225 million.

The rest of the total is made up largely of digital single tracks, where 10 tracks are counted as one album. Digital singles sales rose nearly 9 percent to 1.27 billion.

The digital sales gains are likely here to stay, said Dave Bakula, senior vice president of analytics at Nielsen. He noted more consumers are using high-end mobile devices, and Google Inc. has launched its online music store, giving it a way to sell music to users of smartphones on its Android platform.

"It shows there's still a lot of growth potential in digital," he said. "That's something I don't see falling down."

Sales of older albums rose nearly 9 percent to 151 million, thanks to heavy discounting, including a Father's Day promotion at some big box retailers and iTunes that touted Journey's greatest hits and the work of other older rock bands.

The Nielsen tally does not include growing subscriptions to all-you-can-listen-to music plans, which have been rising thanks in part to the entry of Swedish service Spotify to the U.S. market in July.