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Weigh In: Digital Downloads Fall, Match CD Sales Slump For First Time In History

Conversely, digital streams gaining steam

Screen shot 2014 04 07 at 10.57.17 PM Weigh In:  Digital Downloads Fall, Match CD Sales Slump For First Time In History

Even jointly, late 2013 blockbusters from the likes of Beyonce, Eminem, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga were not enough to save the fledgling music industry as reports confirm worry that the industry is nearing its darkest days yet.

Predictably, physical CD sales have continued their slump as news has it that the CD album format is down 20.5 percent so far this year (31.9 million units sold from the 40.1 million units scanned in the first quarter of 2013).  But, the once flourishing alternative (i.e. digital sales from outlets like iTunes and Amazon.com) are also reflecting swift and downward movement.  So much so, that its decline is nearly matching the rate of physical CD sale decline for the first time in history.

While the industry nears a state of panic, relief has come via popular streaming outlets like Pandora and Spotify as they boast increases in activity and revenue…

Via THR:

“At the end of [2014's first] quarter, digital tracks were down 12.5 percent…Digital albums were down 14.2 percent…in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan. Looked at another way…U.S. digital sales were down 13.3 percent in the first quarter of 2014. In contrast, at the end of the first quarter of last year, digital sales were actually up 3.9 percent.”

“For the first time since the advent of digital sales, the format’s declines resemble the now-routine annual percentage declines for the CD in the new millennium, when drops in CD sales ranged from 18.2 percent to 19.7 percent each year from 2007-11.”

“…digital interactive streaming appears to be making up the slack, on a revenue basis at least. According to SoundScan, interactive music and video streaming totaled 34.28 billion streams in the first quarter of the year, versus 25.44 billion streams in 2013′s corresponding period.” 

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59 Comments

  • April 8, 2014 at 7:26 am
    Meena says:
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    Songs now are not really worth purchasing

    Reply

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  • April 8, 2014 at 7:44 am
    Mark111 says:
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    I only bought a few albums last year and that was Ciara, Talk A Good Game and Beyoncé. I stream the rest. I find myself buying older albums lately.
    Time has changed.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 7:44 am
    JOHNVIDAL says:
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    So now not even basic digital copies sell. Really sad.
    But weren´t these guys at TGJ saying the other day Beyonce was saving the industry with her last album? As if she were pulling an Adele and “21″ and what happened in 2011? LOL Half of their posts are pointless and biased. This one reflects the reality. A sad reality.

    Reply

    Super Cisus Replied:

    You stay worrying about her but your mine is nowhere to be found on the charts…….

    Reply

    JOHNVIDAL Replied:

    You´re a Ciara fan. Enough sais! LOL Mariah has done it all, unlike your fave. And Adele did what true greats do. Beyonce has never done it, and obviously none of the other girls out there.

  • April 8, 2014 at 7:45 am
    Suicide Blonde says:
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    Finally, i mean, album sales should always be bigger than singles sales, side note, i’m the only one who think, digital sales are more inflated than physical sales, i mean, all these new artist from Rihanna to Lady Gaga, has supposedly sold more than 100 million singles worldwide, like that’s a lot, if you think that we are living in the era of illegal downloads, how can they sell that fast, at this rate their total records sales by the end of the decade would be 1000 billion +, of course, 40 million albums sold and 960 million singles sold, it doesn’t makes sense to me, there’s something fishy. Maybe they want to replace the Beatles/Elvis/MJ and Madonna with One Direction/Bieber/Rihanna and Gaga.

    Reply

    Mark111 Replied:

    Suicide bomber, you’re just pressed cause these new girls are gonna out sell your fave. Digital sales are tracked better than physical sales. You think Madonna act sold all those records? No way in hell. Singles sell the most because it’s just a click away with our phones.

    Reply

    JOHNVIDAL Replied:

    These girls won´t outsell anybody. Because Singles=/Albums and because Albums>>>>Singles
    So Adele will keep shitting on them, and Madonna, Whitney, Mariah and Celine will keep reigning. These girls are average and not universally accepted or acclaimed. Deal with it.

  • April 8, 2014 at 7:50 am
    H2O says:
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    Sure lol, with all these countless streaming services who’ll need to pay $1.29 for a song anymore

    I never saw this coming and don’t know what to expect tbh

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 7:50 am
    Sarah says:
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    It’s these STUPID stan Wars…people not supoprting other artist because they want their “fave” to sell more…Its f****** PITIFUL..back in the day people purchased everyone’s stuff..just because they liked it..not because it was a competition..I wonder when people will start to realize that these stans are the death of music

    Reply

    Super Cisus Replied:

    Is that why Kelly has no platinum albums kiiiiii

    Reply

    BaddieBey Replied:

    Kelly couldn’t sell even when music WAS selling so what do stan wars have to do with this?

    Reply

    Touché Replied:

    ^Stop being shady. Sarah has a point so there was no need for those tired remarks.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:12 am
    just me says:
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    this is the best comment i have read in a long time. Navy won’t buy a beyonce cd because of fear of outselling their fave even if they love the album and vice versa. This is one of the main problems along with streaming and illegal downloading. Situation is getting
    worse with countless billboard charts. Another example is little monsters trying to breeak youtube views instead of buying the album or single. youtube brought to the death of record sales I believe. Such a sad world

    Reply

    Sarah Replied:

    Thank you! I cannot and will not acknowledge the two IDIOTS that replied to my comments..This is EXACTLY the problem today..People don’t support each other

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:14 am
    THISISME says:
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    That’s because Miley, Ri, and Cowriah’s music is only worth getting for free. Anyone who buys their actual music is a fool!!

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:16 am
    pat says:
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    music is TOO disposable and generic these days….who wants to invest money in something that’ll only be in for 3 months and fogotten forever, replaced by the next disposable hit…..

    Reply

    REALTALK Replied:

    Very good post, I TOTALLY agree!!! Today’s music is very disposable. Record companies, radio and the media are the blame. It’s all driven by greed which is a product of the time we’re living in. Everybody is trying to get their’s. Quality and excellence has become a thing of the past that’s why we find ourselves constantly reaching back.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:33 am
    lovebird says:
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    Last year I bought way too much music, this year so far I only bought Ashanti, Karmin and Tupac’s greatest hits; the rest have been digital songs.

    Times are changing.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:41 am
    lovebird says:
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    Last year some of my fav purchases were digital copies of all of Rihanna’s 7 albums to compliment my physical copies, Madonna’s Ray of light (digital copy), Kanye West’s Yeezus, Kendrick Lemar and Rebecca Ferguson.

    I played that s*** to death.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:52 am
    MyOpinion says:
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    All of you are wrong. It’s because the artists make music for their fans instead of the gp. The gp don’t care about stan wars but do care about good music. Notice that all of the biggest sellers like Adele, Eminem and Justin don’t even have names for their fans, because they target the masses.

    Another thing is that some artists like Kelly Ro are just too lazy to bother trying to sell anything unless they can make money straight away so they spend more time promoting products they get upfront payments for but won’t promote their albums because they have to wait forever to make the money back.

    Reply

    Sarah Replied:

    I would not use the excuse as Lazy..the industry has changed tremendously as well..the labels dont support artist like they did back in the day that allowed them to be EVERYWHERE and shoot huge videos for all singles…especially the R&B acts..its up to the consumers to buy..R&B was once the leading force in music..and EVERYONE wanted it..now that the labels dont promote R&B anymore..its just not Popular music

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 8:55 am
    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez says:
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    Wait, wasn’t Beyoncé’s last album Hippo apparently increased US domestic market but now there’s a report saying that the amount of physical and digital sales are decreasing while streaming outlets are on the rise? That really doesn’t make any sense. Another Hive clan inflation I guess.

    Times are changing. I mean who wants to pay over and over for bunch of different albums when you could just pay a monthly service of 8.95 to listen to any album you please? It makes more sense that streaming is on rise, especially since a lot of people like to listen to pandora, spotlfy or iTunes songs and can choose whatever song or songs to listen to rather then buying a whole album and being disappointed in it. Ahem, Kelly.

    Reply

    lovebird Replied:

    Spill that tea Blue

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:00 am
    lovebird says:
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    Anyway my fav slays all formats. She’s usually in the top ten for best selling albums, she’s usually the highest selling digital artist of the year and also the most streamed artist of the year.

    Multi format slayage.

    Reply

    Sarah Replied:

    and beacuase of this..you are threatened to purchase anyone else’s album in fear that the person would outsell your fave..lets be real..i bet you didnt even purchase Beyonce’s CD

    Reply

    XoMoDe Replied:

    “Slays on multiple formats,” my ass. Your fave hasn’t had an album go even just double platinum in over half a decade. lol

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:00 am
    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez says:
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    I guess body partition is such a timeless hit or perhaps hippo in heat is the Thot anthem? These troll usernames kill me. Music these days are not as generic as you think, s*** people use that word so much and don’t even understand the meaning behind it.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:05 am
    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez says:
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    Look at the struggle, now Kelly is getting dragged by a Ciara and a hippo Stan? I could understand Hippo but Ciara? When’s the last time Ciara seen a paycheck higher than 100k and that’s from her child support. At least Kelly could ask Beyoncé to pay her bills and didn’t she get like 4 million from X factor?

    Reply

    Sarah Replied:

    Kelly doesn’t need to ask Beyonce for anything..Yes she got millions from XFactor, Caress & TW Steele..and her workout DVD’s sell…she is quite fine..Now Ciara on the other hand..i just dont know

    Reply

    XoMoDe Replied:

    Hey “Slayriah”. lol
    I see you’re posting under your tacky “Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez” disguise.

    WINK

    Reply

    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez Replied:

    Use your brain, I’m not Slayriah or any troll. You haven’t clocked me on trolling , you may go back few pages and see for yourself if you like

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:06 am
    Proctor says:
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    The worst thing the music industry ever did was get into bed with iTunes and streaming. This “digital age” has virtually destroyed music. So afraid that they’d lose a few coins from sporadic illegal downloads that they totally reorganized itself in a way that they made unnecessary to buy albums. It’s like conspiring with your own killer. The only way to save things is to figure out some way to FORCE people to buy physical CDs again. Get out of bed with iTunes, YouTube, and Spotify. It’s ridiculous that songs are selling 5 and 6 million copies because it’s THAT easy to buy from a phone, while the albums they’re cut from are struggling to go platinum. What kind of lunacy? The industry needs to decide what’s more important…$1.29 or 11.99. And hell, now with streaming you don’t even gotta pay the former.

    You don’t see the motion picture industry allowing people to “stream” new movies on their phone or home computer. No, if you wanna see it you have to get your ass up and go to the theater, and you don’t get to cherry pick scenes to watch either.

    Reply

    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez Replied:

    Wouldn’t it be better to have two options than 1? Not everyone wants to buy a whole album from artist, maybe they just like that one song and they don’t want to buy a whole album just to listen to that one single, the logic your statement doesn’t make sense. Instead of having physical copies of music, it should be digital because wither you like it or not, physical copies of music will disappear and it will only be digital so they should just scrap the hard copies altogether and make iTunes, spotlfy or pandora accessible for those who do not have or wish not to use their credit cards to purchase things online

    Reply

    Mizuki Replied:

    Actually dear you can stream movies from Netflix, Xfinity, Dish Network, and countless others.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:08 am
    RICHIE_RICH says:
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    The power of Beyonce….They always worried about her instead of the w**** OF BABYLON……I can’t

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:13 am
    lovebird says:
    Vote

    Actually Sarah babe, I have purchased 3 Beyonce albums, Beyonce, 4 and I am Sasha Fierce. I zippy shared B’Day which was a good decision because that album is total garbage.

    I also purchased one Kelly Rowland album which is Here I Flop, be thankful for that.

    Reply

    Sarah Replied:

    Baby i could care less if you purchase a Kelly CD or not

    Reply

    Mark111 Replied:

    Hahahaha, I hated B-Day as well. It was made in two weeks and it showed.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:13 am
    Bey Advocate says:
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    Rodriguez, I’m liking your work, you clock in on time and is very consistent. Keep it up and we might can move you up to full time along with lovebird

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:30 am
    Absolved says:
    Vote

    I’m sorry but does Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez think we forgot about that epic humiliating self-exposure last week when she stupidly revealed herself as Slayriah? You have some nerve coming back here and trying to join in on the conversation like none of that happened.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 9:59 am
    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez says:
    Vote

    I got the hive so pressed that they had to go back 600 pages to find my username and comments just so they could read me but it’s funny because I also asked for receipts for those inflations. Cannot be found and I’m dying thinking the hive dragged me when I was just dragging Beyoncé for filth not trying to deny I have said anything about not trying to stop Stan wars.

    Y’all are still basic just like the hippo y’all Stan for

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 10:10 am
    My Gums Tho(aka Teacher) says:
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    Ironically this happens when Queen Rihanna didn’t release an album!

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 10:20 am
    Rob says:
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    That’s because Riri didnt have a new single out. When she drops her new single digital sales will increase. Some of these other girls can’t even get a #1 single after tons of stunts and tricks and being naked on stage, but Ri just has to drop it and people legally download in droves.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 10:25 am
    skyfall says:
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    Music is becoming disposable, and horribly generic just look at the currnet #1 song on BBHOT100

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 10:38 am
    Mark111 says:
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    I do find it funny the year Rihanna doesn’t drop an album is the year the whole market is about to crash. You mean all those “album sellers” can’t save the bizz? Hahahaha

    They said that Rihanna was scared to drop an album cause of Flopga, lol!
    They said that Rihanna ran because of BeYAWNce. Umm, who was it that dropped their album out of the blue trying to avoid Rihanna? I find it funny that Beyonce dropped two weeks after RIHvember. I guess she waited 13 days to make sure the coast was clear.lol

    Reply

    lovebird Replied:

    DEATH, I love you.

    Reply

    Blue Ivy Carter-Rodriguez Replied:

    Tell these hoes the truth, Rihanna is probably laughing at All these hoes

    Mizuki Replied:

    Ouch! I agree nonetheless! When Rihanna drops music she really does drive up digital sales greatly. It’s the reason why she’s the best and fastest selling digital artist of this millennia. Also why is a singles artist selling albums? A singles artist is someone like Flo Rida or Kesha. Anyways I cannot wait for the massive slayage that is R8!

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 12:59 pm
    mypenizfresh says:
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    I think a big part of it is the fact that there are so many outlets to test a cd out before purchase. That an a mixture of not enough excitement for the quality of music.. which makes a big decline in sales. Artist need to rely on things like Spotify however to allow streaming to introduce them to mainstream. Radio is constantly in the executives pockets.. they miss out on many artists that could create a genuine buzz for new/more music.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 1:21 pm
    coolness says:
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    This doesn’t look good AT ALL. First of all, mainstream music seems SO disposable today and is so blatantly driven by making money by greedy execs. Gone are the days of taking ones time to putting out the highest possible quality product. Secondly, this whole streaming and YouTube has ruined a lot of things. Thirdly, the approach of some artists and their fans need to change. You should endeavour to market your music to your fanbase and GP at large. This whole ‘stan war’ mess is the dumbest thing I’ve ever come across on the internet. If you like, music, support it legally.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 2:33 pm
    Rosie says:
    Vote

    This thread should’ve stopped at the first comment. All of the hits today are such trash, it’s really not worth purchasing. There’s maybe four decent songs in the iTunes top 20 at the very most right now. That’s sad. People have to go really deep into the internet and search out for good music because the major labels are not doing it. That’s why I listen to mostly internet radio these days instead.

    Reply

  • April 8, 2014 at 3:42 pm
    Biting Truth says:
    Vote

    Yeah the market really needs another album from Rihanna that’ll miss the top spot, fall out of the top 10 after 2 weeks and take 6 months to just barely sell a million copies (after massive mark downs to $4.99).

    :lol:

    The brain dead Navtards are always good for a chuckle.

    Truth is that Rihanna is too scared to release an album outside November. I dare her to try and put one out in April. Sales would be low enough to make ever HER forehead cave in.

    Reply

    Slay_Hive Replied:

    I had to laugh at this comment. They really think Rihanna’s basic generic forgettable singles are the industry’s saving grace. When she is one of the artist to blame for this decline. The navy are seriously delusional. LOL

    Reply

    My Gums Tho(aka Teacher) Replied:

    b**** go find Rihanna’s highest selling album to date and see when it was released! Now stfu!

    Reply

  • April 9, 2014 at 4:51 am
    whoiam says:
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    I agree with the comment that the record labels, radio & other sources are to blame but they have no option we live in 2014, and everything is disposable now. Within seconds information/music spread around the world via the internet and as a business you have to move with the times. Labels & radio have to try to meet their audiences needs, this is all down to the general public not standing still anymore, the general public move on quickly also it is easier to listen to music for free now. Probably more people are listening to music than in the past but more & more are not paying for it.

    Reply

  • April 9, 2014 at 10:16 am
    Antonio says:
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    It’s the stans, GP and the labels. The labels aren’t properly promoting their artists on global fronts like they did back in the day. In the 70s, 80s and 90s artists did promo amy and everywhere… Nightclubs, local TV/radio stations, national and local magazines as well as awards shows and national talk shows. That’s why even average artists like Xscape, SWV, Britney and Jessica Simpson could sell multiplatinum albums off Top 20/30 singles. Nowadays, off a Top 20 single, you’d be lucky to see long term sales of 200k tbh. Look at Ciara for example. Body Party sold nearly 600k and peaked on #22 on the Hot 100 and her album had a strong promo push but inly sold 60k the 1st wk… Because the stans were too busy fighting on social media, the GP wasn’t interest in R&B and her label didn’t push her onto global front with songs like Overdose, Livin’ It Up or One Night with You. Some artists like Ciara, Kelly Rowland, Tamar, Brandy and Janelle Monae don’t have the GP on their side so their labels have to push them harder than Rihanna, Miley, Gaga and Katy who’s music has a general appeal while their’s has a specific appeal. Look at artists like Toni, TLC, DC, Whitney, Janet and Mariah, they got pushed on a huge national and global front… Which equals huge national and global hit singles and massive album sales. However, the young generation is interested in buying a $10-15 album, they’d rather spend $1.29 on a single or just illegally download it from 4shared, mp3skull or Music Paradise instead. The reason Adele sold so well for 2-3 yrs is because she was promoted EVERYWHERE and her music has a universal appeal, everyone can relate to general themes of heartache and love

    Reply

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