Port Washington, NY, March 17, 2009 – According to The NPD Group, the leader in market research for the entertainment industry, the number of Internet users paying for digital music increased by just over 8 million in 2008 to 36 million Internet users. Purchases of online digital music downloads increased by 29 percent since last year; they now account for 33 percent of all music tracks purchased in the U.S. NPD’s Digital Music Study, an annual tracking study covering the music industry, also revealed that there were nearly 17 million fewer CD buyers in 2008 compared to the prior year.The decline in CD buyers cuts across all demographic groups, but was particularly focused on teens and consumers age 50 and older. “Rising incidence of paid downloads is a positive development for the industry, but not all lost CD buyers are turning to digital music,” said Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group.NPD also reported that there were 13 million fewer music buyers in the U.S. last year, compared to the prior year. The decline in music purchasing was led by a 19 percent drop in CD sales. Only 58 percent of Internet users reported purchasing CDs or digital music downloads last year, versus 65 percent in 2007.