In March, this could be written off as a blip. In late-June, it looks more like an unmistakeable trend: according to preliminary, year-over-year data shared by a major label source, song download sales are down by roughly 3 percent in the US.
These are year-to-date, cumulative stats, which means 2013 is likely to be the first year — ever — that paid downloads have decreased. At this rate, here’s what things will look like by Christmas.
The dropoff is likely to be reflected in an upcoming, first-half report issued by Nielsen Soundscan, according to the source. That report, expected in about two or three weeks, will likely show a download decline of “nearly 3 percent.” “If [Nielsen] says it’s less than 2 [percent], they’re fudging,” the executive told Digital Music News. “Maybe things go back up in Q4, but [downloads are] almost certainly going to be down for the year.”
The executive also noted that digital album sales remain up ‘in the healthy single digits’. But digital albums are still a small part of the action, and sagging CDs will continue to drag the overall album result.
Then, of course, there’s this: Spotify is now expected to surpass 7 million paying subscribers (worldwide) any day now. That, alongside continued climbs at YouTube, Deezer, and even Muve Music, is painting a pretty clear streaming cannibalization picture.
Written while listening to the chill dubstep sounds of Martyn.