By Allen Starbury (

2012 is finally here, so what happened with album sales in 2001? They actually rose for the first time since 2004, propelled by digital sales, cheaper album prices and special offers, as well as a booming vinyl market.

Nielsen released numbers on Wednesday (January 4), revealing that U.S. music sales rose 6.9% in 2011 with overall sales of albums, single tracks and music videos increased to 1.61 billion units.

Total album sales expanded 1.3 percent to 330.6 million.

Despite a rise in sales, physical CD sales fell 6% last year, but digital album downloads made up for it by a 20% increase to a record 103.1 million.

Digital song sales grew 8.5% in 2011 to a record 1.27 billion downloads, compared with 1.17 billion in 2010.

Another area that boomed was vinyl sales — album sales soared to 3.9 million copies, versus 2.8 million in 2010.

2011’s top-selling album was Adele’s 21, raking in over 5.8 million sales. But, Lil Wayne made his mark at #4 with 1.9 million, with Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne coming in five slots later at #9 with just over 1.2 million sold.

However, The Throne did out-sell Weezy’s Carter IV digitally, landing at #4 on the list behind Adele and Lady Gaga with 608,000 digital album sales.

Check out some of the numbers below, tracked by Nielsen.

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