Digital goes the way of the CD

2014 was another bad year for music sales

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Remember iTunes? Digital music downloads may not be dead yet, but the format is quickly following the CD in its decline. New numbers from Nielsen show that digital album sales in the U.S. declined by 9 percent in 2014, to 106.5 million, down from 117.6 in 2013. Including CDs, album sales even fell 11 percent. Digital song sales are also down 11 percent, with iTunes & Co. selling 1.1 billion tracks, down from 1.26 billion in 2013. But there’s also good news for the music biz: On-demand streaming was up 54 percent over 2013, with 164 billion songs streamed throughout the year.

8 Responses to “2014 was another bad year for music sales”

  1. Kathleen Wirt

    Streaming may be good for the business, but hardly so for the artists. Did any of you see the posting of Lady Gaga’s label contract from 2007? It specifically stated that if the label licensed all or most of its music to streaming, then the artist would receive $0. Granted, this is is 2007, and streaming really started to kick in during 2008, but I suspect this clause must have been standard at the time, which explains why the labels were so excited about streaming and said it would save the industry.

  2. Joseph Wm Robson

    I Hate To burst Your Bubble, but I am a 54 (in 2 wks 55) Year old who Still Seeks Out Vinyl and a lot on CD’s. I follow a lot of Trends, My Music Knows NO Boundries. Last Year I Purchased Over 20 New realeses on Viny, Which By the way is Up and Had its best sales since 2000 !!! and If I can help it, will have even a better Year in 2015. Yes I may be the Exception to the rule, But as I show My Older Friends How to download their old Records to Their Computer(s), Belive Me, they are more than excited to go and seek out Vinyl than to download digital copies…..By the way, the Jimi Hendrix Re-issues “Are You Experienced” was well worth the 12.99 I payed for on Vinyl From Best Buy !!!!

  3. Nicholas Paredes

    Labels are really important for finding new music and getting it to the market. Sadly, many of them don’t quite understand convenience. One of the issues I face in storing my large music library, of which almost all of it was purchased, is storage and use. iTunes match solved some of the issues until the rare stuff started to disappear. How f-d up! People don’t purchase a digital and a vinyl version. Labels that don’t get this.

    I have found that streaming suffices a large part of the day, as radio did. I stream radio as well. This wipes out most of new music purchases, unless I hear an artist I very much am willing to lay $20 down on. My former self would have dropped $100 a week in a record store for new fodder. This changes the equation for artists for the worse.

    It is now the customers driving the market. Customers want convenience and value. If we are to pay for music again, outside of vinyl, we need portability and convenience in owning the music. The smaller labels have the opportunity to develop relationships, but they tend to be the most technologically backwards. It is quite amazing how little has changed since 2000. The labels remind me of telecoms prior to Apple coming along.

  4. Businesses who fail to adapt and fool themselves into thinking they can control and manipulate the market fool themselves. It’s easy to see the direction music is going and there are so many profitable business models out there. The music labels and their army of lawyers can’t hold back the tide much longer.

    Fact is, we don’t really need them.

    We can accomplish so much more without the lawyers holding us back.

    • Yup, you and your thieving buddies can strip the artists of any income whatsoever. Then the billionaires in Silicon Valley will get everything. At least during the old regime, the artists got a cut of the revenue. Now it all goes to Silicon Valley: the ISPs, the search engines, and the ad farms. They keep telling the artists that it’s not “cool” to want a piece of the action. You’re supposed to be in it for the love of the art. Let us count the money, says Silicon Valley.

      The lawyers protect the rights of the artists. The only reason you want to strip the lawyers of any power is so you and your thieving friends can have all of the money.

      • Tom Jeffries

        “The lawyers protect the rights of the artists.”

        Bob, unfortunately that’s not what’s happening. Lawyers protect the rights of the record labels but NOT the artists. Artists are getting screwed.