During the calendar year of 2000, the recording industry saw one of its greatest sales years with 785 million albums sold. Two days into the new year, Nielsen SoundScan‘s figures confirm a continued sales slump, with a paltry 428 million units sold. The trend has been happening for the better part of a decade, but analysts are surprised by a downturn in the once untouchable digital platform.

“Digital song sales rose 27 per cent to a record 1 billion units [click to read], but the growth was slower than the 45 per cent jump in 2007,” says Reuters‘ Dean Goodman. “Digital album sales rose 32 per cent to 65 million units, after a 53 per cent jump in 2007.”

Despite the slump, 2008 still spawned the highest-selling digital single in the history of the SoundScan era with “Low.” To date, the Flo Rida, T-Pain collaboration has sold over 4.5 million units [click to read]. The ringtone hit was the one of only three Hip Hop tracks to make SoundScan‘s top ten selling digital tracks. Lil Wayne‘s inescapable “Lollipop” ranked as the year’s second best-selling digital single with 3.1 million sales. T.I. rounded out the list with “Whatever You Like,” which sold 2.6 million digital units [click to read].

Nielsen SoundScan’s Top 10 Digital Singles of 2008

1. “Bleeding Love” – Leona Lewis: 3,420,000 units sold.

2. “Lollipop” – Lil Wayne: 3,161,000 units sold.

3. “Low” – Florida/T-Pain: 2,979,000 units sold.

4. “I Kissed A Girl” – Katy Perry: 2,977,000 units sold.

5. “Viva La Vida” – Coldplay: 2,914,000 units sold.

6. “Disturbia” – Rihanna: 2,766,000 units sold.

7. “Whatever You Like” – T.I.: 2,682,000 units sold.

8. “I’m Yours” – Jason Mraz: 2,655,000 units sold.

9. “No Air” – Jordin Sparks/Chris Brown: 2,612,000 units sold.

10. “So What” – Pink: 2,590,000 units sold.