This is officially the year that downloads stopped accelerating, and potentially, gave way to conditional ownership and streaming models. According to half-year stats shared by Nielsen Soundscan with Digital Music News this weekend, paid downloads are slumping 2.3 percent at the half-point, meaning the period from January 1st through June 30th.
In total, Nielsen tallied 682.2 million paid downloads by June 30th, down from 698 million at the same point last year. The sales are almost entirely from the iTunes Store and Amazon MP3, both of whom remain on the streaming sidelines. Nielsen remains the only company tracking aggregated paid downloads in the US.
The statistic confirms information from a source last month, who pointed Digital Music News to a half-year downtrend of ‘nearly 3 percent,’ while arguing that anything closer to 2 percent erred on the side of fiction. Earlier, in March, the first warning signs of a decline appeared.
Now, the trend is now clear: downloads are down for consecutive reporting periods, the first time that has ever occurred in the history of the format.