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…
“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.”