*It’s not exactly a surprise, but now it’s official. Things are not looking good for the record world. That’s what Billboard, them bible of the music industry is reporting. In their words: “Bad times just got worse.”

For the week ending May 30, the U.S. music industry sold a total of 4,984,000 albums, according to Nielsen Soundscan. This figure, which includes new and catalog releases, represents the fewest number of albums sold in one week since Soundscan began compiling this data in 1994.

By comparison, album sales for the week ending May 31, 2009, totaled 5.76 million. The highest one-week tally recorded during the Soundscan era is 45.4 million albums, in late December, 2000.

This week’s record low comes as the major record companies continue to reckon with a decade-long decline in sales, and as other prominent sectors of the industry, such as the touring business, go through sea changes of their own.

And that’s not all: While there’s no exact way to compare last week’s total against imprecise, pre-Soundscan tallies, Billboard estimates that weekly album sales volume could, in fact, be at its lowest point since the early 1970s.

“We think this is the lowest week ever, or at least of the Soundscan era,” says Universal Music Group Distribution president Jim Urie.

Read the FULL story HERE.