Digital Music Sales Decline for First Time Since Opening of iTunes Music Store

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
47,521
9,356



For the first time since the opening of the iTunes Music Store in 2003, digital music sales have decreased year-over-year, reports Billboard.

In 2013, sales of individual digital tracks declined 5.7% from 1.34 billion units to 1.26 billion units, while digital album sales fell to 117.6 million units from 117.7 million units in 2012. The report notes that industry executives have cited music streaming services for the regression in digital music sales.
While industry executives initially refused to attribute the early signs this year of digital sales weakness to the consumer's growing appetite for streaming, in the second half of the year many were conceding that ad-supported and paid subscription services were indeed cannibalizing digital sales.

While SoundScan has not yet released its annual streaming numbers numbers, so far industry executives have been reporting that the growth in streaming revenue has been offsetting the decline in digital sales revenue.
Music streaming providers experienced a surge in popularity during 2013, as major services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio announced new free listening tiers for users in the wake of Apple launching iTunes Radio. Apple is also said to be expanding iTunes Radio service to the U.K, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand within the first few months of 2014, ahead of competitor Pandora's own expansion.

Overall, album sales as a whole declined 8.4% in 2013, dropping to 289.4 units from nearly 316 units in 2012, with physical CD sales declining 14.5% to 165.4 million units from 193.4 million units in the prior year. iTunes also saw its market share rise to account for 40.6% of total U.S. album sales, as Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" became the year's best selling single with 6.5 million tracks sold.


Article Link: Digital Music Sales Decline for First Time Since Opening of iTunes Music Store
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,078
312
To be fair though 2013 wasn't a stellar year for music, there was only a handful of songs that came out I felt worth buying. Also Digital albums are very expensive still compared to physical copies which offer superior sound quality and the tactile experience of physical media which people do still enjoy. Also a lot of music is still not available to download atleast not through legal channels so people fall back to ripping physical copies instead.
 

RobertMartens

macrumors 65816
Aug 29, 2002
1,170
291
Tokyo, Japan
That was inevitable.
You mean your comment?


BTW

"While SoundScan has not yet released its annual streaming numbers numbers, so far industry executives have been reporting that the growth in streaming revenue has been offsetting the decline in digital sales revenue."


What are annual streaming numbers numbers?
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,078
312
On another note Blurred Lines is possibly the worst song I've heard in a decade, it is a rape anthem that is seedy and has a horrid message. I cringe when I hear it. The fact it has been so popular says a lot about society I suppose and should be a bit disconcerting.
 

Nevaborn

macrumors 65816
Aug 30, 2013
1,078
312
Or we are becoming more selective and won't buy just any old crap the industry produce.
And Blurred Lines still sold =/

This had same effect laregely on album sales when you could start to buy individual tracks. Though they try to sting you either way now and put "album only".
 

RobertMartens

macrumors 65816
Aug 29, 2002
1,170
291
Tokyo, Japan
On another note Blurred Lines is possibly the worst song I've heard in a decade, it is a rape anthem that is seedy and has a horri message. I cringe when I hear it. The fact it has been so popular says a lot about society I suppose and should be a bit disconcerting.
It was an anti-message message. But that was maybe lost on the crowd. It does have a great beat. You have to admit that. Maybe you're just getting old.
 

Chupa Chupa

macrumors G5
Jul 16, 2002
14,834
7,394
Music sales, but not revenue. Streaming companies pay royalties on every song streamed, even the crap that is skipped 30 seconds into playing. More people are listing to streaming radio than ever before. I won't get into concerts but big money there too. Argentina is not crying.
 

jayducharme

macrumors 68040
Jun 22, 2006
3,470
3,071
The thick of it
One thing not mentioned here that Billboard reports is a big surge in vinyl purchases. Admittedly, that's a small percentage of overall sales, but still it's interesting. And even though sales are slightly down, the iTunes Store continues to widen its lead.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
Best Selling of 2013:

ALBUM
1. “The 20/20 Experience” – Justin Timberlake – 2.43 million
2. “The Marshall Mathers LP 2″ – Eminem – 1.73
3. “Crash My Party – Luke Bryan – 1.52
4. “Night Visions” – Imagine Dragons – 1.4
5. “Unorthodox Jukebox” – Bruno Mars – <1.4
6. “Here’s to the Good Times” – Florida Georgia Line – 1.35
7. “Nothing Was the Same” – Drake – 1.34
8. “Beyonce” – Beyonce – 1.3
9. “Based On a True Story” – Blake Shelton – 1.11
10. “Magna Carta…Holy Grail” – Jay Z – 1.1

SINGLE
1. “Blurred Lines” – Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell & T.I. – 6.5 million
2. “Thrift Shop” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – 6.15
3. “Radioactive” – Imagine Dragons – 5.5
4. “Cruise” – Florida Georgia Line – 4.69
5. “Royals” – Lorde – 4.42
6. “Roar” – Katy Perry – 4.41
7. “Just Give Me a Reason” – P!nk feat. Nate Ruess – 4.32
8. “Can’t Hold Us” – Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – 4.26
9. “When I Was Your Man” – Bruno Mars – 3.93
10. “Stay” – Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – 3.85


--

I for one havent updated my iTunes library in like forever due to Spotify and the deal they have made with T-Mobile in Germany. I pay 10 bucks a month for unlimited music + it does not get added to my data volume on my iPhone = AMAZING
 

peterdevries

macrumors 68040
Feb 22, 2008
3,146
1,134
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
A big part of this is on the artists themselves. Many are releasing less and less records and are in stead focussing on live events. The ROI is much larger from that, and the audience is mainly interested in older songs.

Look at Britney Spears.

So, in essence there is a shift going on from record sales to streaming AND live events.
 

bushido

Suspended
Mar 26, 2008
8,070
2,754
Germany
Music this decade has been terrible and you can only buy so many old artist.
thats just a way of life, you are just getting older. I am sure my grandmother hated my mothers music and my mother hates my music and my children will hate my music and their children will hate their parents music ;)
 

Naimfan

Suspended
Jan 15, 2003
4,669
2,009
I find myself buying less music, mainly because most so the new music coming out theses days is awful.

Music managers might want to work on that root cause, though they won't.
 

xmichaelp

macrumors 68000
Jul 10, 2012
1,815
626
Music this decade has been terrible and you can only buy so many old artist.
Sorry but comments like these are just absurd. I have no idea how people don't make the slightest attempt to listen to any new music besides what's on the radio then make sweeping generalization that all music is terrible.

In my opinion, there were ten or so great albums in just 2013. And no, none of them are what you see on that top 40 list above.
 

ChromeAce

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2009
170
163
Digital music is not sold, it is licensed. That's why you can't sell it to someone else. Streaming or downloading, you're paying for the same thing.
 

xmichaelp

macrumors 68000
Jul 10, 2012
1,815
626
You didn't really roll your eyes did you?

How old do you have to be to remember CDs?'
And Vinyl went out in 1988.
Probably 10 or so. And if you look at polls vinyl was pretty dead from the 90's to early 2000's and spiked up near the late 2000's. It's not a huge chunk of the overall market but it's there. Lot's on younger people who listen to more "indie" bands are into vinyl.
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.