The Slow and Painful Death of the Download Continues…

We now have nine months of data on 2013, and it shows a continued and persistent erosion of paid download and album sales.  Billboard combed through the Nielsen SoundScan third quarter report this morning.

The report shows that in the first nine months of this year, digital sales of songs are at 974.5 million, which is 3.4% lower than “the slightly over 1 billion scans” measured in the first nine months of last year.  Again, ‘erosion’ is the operative word here.

On the bundled side, digital album scans this year are “up 2.6% to 87.7 million units,” but growth actually slowed in the second quarter and dropped 5% from last year in the third quarter.

Unsurprisingly, album sales overall have gone down 6.1% this year. The weakest link is the decline of the CD, which dropped 12.8% in sales to 113.1 million.

Vinyl continues to make its comeback, with sales up around 30% to 4.1 million.

Image by Warren R.M. Stuart, licensed under Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic.

11 Responses

  1. Yves Villeneuve

    US Economy, Global Economy, Strange US Anti-Piracy System causing possible consumer backlash, etc

  2. Yves Villeneuve

    What was the growth picture for total download songs and albums, enquiring minds would like to know?
    Obviously the headline and the presentation of numbers are meant to stir emotions. Premature to call the death of downloads when more download albums are being purchased than a year ago.
    Has the download market fully matured? Difficult to tell in a bad economic environment.

  3. GGG

    But I thought Visitor said sales went up because a tightly orchestrated global initiative against piracy was making everyone buy music again!

  4. PGT

    I think it’s evident that the culture of the young actually isn’t into music as much as early generations were into it, in a relative sense. It’s not nearly as meaningful to them nor does it have as much cultural/social import nor impact. Sales and listener behavior reflect this.
    The reasons for this are numerous, and you only need to analyse the daily lifestyle of this demographic to find them.

    • szmcgill

      “isn’t into music as much as early generations were into it”
      this is not true at all. today’s youth are as into or more into their music and that’s a fact. the reason you’re seeing less sales is… well it’s the point of most articles on this site…. business & environment & accessibility, not because youth are ‘not as into music’ … not at all!.

  5. Katie King

    It’s no surprise that there is a 3.4% drop in the number of paid download and album sales this year. Peer-to-peer file sharing and streaming sites dominate today’s music industry and make it nearly impossible for artists to make money.

    • Tune Hunter

      …and Francis Keeling who is in charge of 60+% of content is impressed with those developments!
      The industry, thanks to Spoofy, had 0.3% GROWTH in 2012.
      Wherever, and whoever you are, lets take deep breath and apploud Mr. Killing for Keeling the business.
      Lady Gaga is the only possible antidote to prevnt DEATH!

  6. positve news

    postive news: wax cylinder sales have skyrocket over last year, up 1000% (because i bought 10 at a flee market.)

    • Tune Hunter

      Wax melts – they might stream it!
      Call Mr. Keeling he might save the business.

  7. Tune Hunter

    No surprise, we are in gigantic GANG RAPE MODE!
    High percentage of music loving public is SCREWING musicians.

    Shazam, Soundhound, The Echo Nest etc….. are the PIMPS

    Spotify, YouTube etc…. are the WHOREHOUSES!
    Discovery Moment Monetization is the cure for this psychopathic mode.