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

music_streaming_logos 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.

Top Rated Comments

Kebabselector Avatar
112 months ago
The report notes that industry executives have cited music streaming services for the regression in digital music sales.
Or we are becoming more selective and won't buy just any old crap the industry produce.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nevaborn Avatar
112 months ago
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.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Plutonius Avatar
112 months ago
Music this decade has been terrible and you can only buy so many old artist.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JackieInCo Avatar
112 months ago
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 am proud to say that i do not own any of this.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Nevaborn Avatar
112 months ago
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.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
peterh988 Avatar
112 months ago
What happens to song writing?

Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iPhone 14 Dummies 1 Feature

Everything Rumored for Apple's September Event: iPhone 14, Apple Watch Pro and More

Friday August 12, 2022 2:34 pm PDT by
There's just about a month to go until Apple holds its annual September event focusing on new iPhone and Apple Watch models. We thought we'd take a quick look at everything that's rumored for Apple's September event to give MacRumors readers a rundown on what to expect when the first fall event rolls around. iPhone 14 The iPhone 14 can probably be described more as an "iPhone 13S" because...
z fold 4 1

Hands-On With Samsung's Latest Foldable Smartphones, the Galaxy Z Fold and Z Flip

Friday August 12, 2022 12:46 pm PDT by
Samsung this week launched its fourth-generation foldable devices, the $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip and the $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold. Though there's no sign of a comparable Apple foldable device on the horizon, rumors suggest prototypes are in the works, so we thought we'd take a look at Samsung's newest smartphones to see what Apple needs to measure up to when a foldable iPhone does come out. Subscribe ...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Rear Flat MacRumors Exclusive

iPhone 14 Pro: Analyst Believes Storage Will Continue to Start at 128GB Despite Rumored Price Increase

Friday August 12, 2022 7:04 am PDT by
It wouldn't be the month before an iPhone launch without a few back-and-forth rumors, with the latest debate concerning iPhone 14 Pro storage. iPhone 14 Pro render by Ian Zelbo While research firm TrendForce forecasted that iPhone 14 Pro models could start with an increased 256GB of storage, Haitong International analyst Jeff Pu today forecasted that the upcoming Pro models will continue to...
iPhone 14 Pro Purple Front and Back MacRumors Exclusive feature

iPhone 14 Is Just a Few Weeks Away: Three Tips to Prepare for the New iPhone

Wednesday August 10, 2022 4:08 am PDT by
The launch of the new iPhone 14 is just a few weeks away, meaning millions of iPhone customers will soon upgrade their existing iPhone or perhaps get an iPhone for the first time. Exclusive MacRumors iPhone 14 Pro renders by graphic designer Ian Zelbo Whether upgrading from an older model or this is your first iPhone, we've rounded up a few tips to help you prepare for the next flagship...
iPhone 14 Pro Lineup Feature Silver

Kuo: Apple to Increase Prices of iPhone 14 Pro Models

Wednesday August 10, 2022 8:22 am PDT by
Apple plans to increase the prices of iPhone 14 Pro models compared to iPhone 13 Pro models, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo did not reveal exact pricing for the iPhone 14 Pro models. However, in a tweet today, he estimated that the average selling price of the iPhone 14 lineup as a whole will increase by about 15% compared to the iPhone 13 lineup. In the United States, the iPhone...
top stories 13aug2022

Top Stories: New Battery Percentage Icon in iOS 16, USB-C AirPods Rumor, and More

Saturday August 13, 2022 6:00 am PDT by
This week brought some shocking news for iOS 16 beta testers, with Apple bringing back the iPhone battery percentage to the status bar after a number of years. Other news and rumors this week included word that Apple has started recording portions of its media event planned for next month to introduce the iPhone 14 and Apple Watch Series 8, claims about iPhone 14 Pro pricing and Apple's...