iTunes Song Downloads Are Below 2008 Levels…

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2015 is a flat-line projection, based on first-half numbers (531.6 million downloads, down 10.1% from first-half 2014).  And remember, this is all before Apple Music launched.

Source: Nielsen first-half 2015 data.

44 Responses

  1. smg77

    Good. The sooner everybody gets on board with streaming the better.

      • Yep

        …because that’s what consumers want.

        And if they don’t get that legally, they will use illegal services.

        Do you want to get paid for consumption of your recordings, or not?

  2. Anonymous

    “iTunes Song Downloads Are Below 2008 Levels”

    …because of Spotify, I’m sure Apple Music is the perfect cure.

  3. Anonymous

    US downloads were considerably better ($2.6) in 2014 than in 2010 ($2.3), according to RIAA.

    I’ll post the link in a comment below.

        • Anonymous

          Don’t talk like TorrentFreak, that’s just silly…

        • Anonymous


          -reads article, sees facts-

          Hmm, looks legit to me. In fact, it seems like this blog could benefit from the same standard of reporting.

          • There is something...

            Paul is speaking about iTunes numbers and your like about overall numbers.
            Still, the trend isn’t much different. Event if still “not that bad”, overall numbers are declining.
            Keep in mind that the same trend is going on even in countries where Spotify is still young or not available at all…

          • Paul Resnikoff

            C’mon guys, let’s get real. iTunes has always dominated paid song downloads, always. Yeah, Amazon took a piece, others tried to get in on the fringe, but never really amounted to much (and that includes Google). Just never happened.

            Now, as it relates to the RIAA. That’s useful as an indicator, but the RIAA is a poorly-run, disinformation machine. So, it’s important to view their numbers with heightened skepticism.

          • Anonymous

            “RIAA is a poorly-run, disinformation machine”

            I’ve seen quite a lot of people describe DMN in similar terms.

            They’re wrong, though. And so are you.

          • Anonymous

            Eh. Fairly accurate statement about DMN, recently. The hysterical tone this site has adopted the past few months has been unbecoming, to say the least.

  4. john

    apple music will be killing iTunes downloads way more than any other streaming service. the iTunes store basically doesn’t even exist because apple music supersedes it in every way. if you wanted to pay for a track it’s hard to even do…and who would when streaming as much as possible is now 9.99 a month

    • There is something...

      I just bought 2 tracks today. Nothing changed at all. Same process than before.

  5. HansH

    Anybody who has tried Apple Music knows. Buying tracks is a thing of the past.. In iTunes the iTunes store is as good as impossible to find.

    • DavidB

      Try clicking on the big heading ‘iTunes Store’. Works for me.

      • Paul Resnikoff

        There’s truth in both comments. For those ready to ride the Apple Music horse, downloads are done. Others really have no idea and don’t care; it too me 28 steps to upgrade into Apple Music, and a lot of people I’m guessing have no idea it even exists.

        All that says, yes, there will be considerable erosion of paid downloads, I’d say by year-end we’re looking at a 20 percent plus YOY decline, maybe 25%+ if the recording industry is really unlucky.

        • Oz

          as a producer and consumer my counterituitive guess is that after a partial evisceration of download sales, both streaming volumes and downloads will ramp up when all delivery & promotional mechanisms (including live performances) work in a properly integrated & seamless fashion. we’re still quite a way off from that point, obviously.

  6. DarkMoney

    “Let’s replace $18 CDs with $0.99 downloads, and then replace $0.99 downloads with $0.002/listen streams.”
    Has there ever been an industry so intent on hurtling to its own demise?

    (Actually, given that the record biz operates as a cartel, I’m not sure that long term that’s a bad thing.)

    • Anonymous

      18 dollar CDs brought on consumer revolt and was never sustainable.

      This blog’s bitching about streaming needs to stop. It isn’t going away any more than Netflix is going away. Start advocating a standard royalty and windowing for new releases.

      Start being useful because we’re tired of the whining.

      • Anonymous

        You need to stop living in the past, nobody’s discussing ‘$18 CDs’.

        Millions of fans buy downloads today. Nobody could afford to produce the kind of music people want if they didn’t.

        • superduper

          and then again $18 has proven to be too much for the price of an album

      • DarkMoney

        Actually $18 CDs brought on “incredible profits,” not “consumer revolt.” True, $18 CDs weren’t sustainable, but that was due to Napster (etc), not “consumer revolt.” Get real.

        And it’s not “bitching” to suggest that the current conventional wisdom isn’t correct. The willingness of people to pay $10/month for “unlimited music” isn’t nearly proven. And once you start advocating windowing for new releases, you’re devaluing the key feature of the streaming services (“all the music, everywhere”).

        The truth is that the Spotify (etc) model isn’t anything new or revolutionary. It’s a temporary fix that works as long as VCs are willing to invest boatloads of money in hopes of extracting a big IPO payday. It sure works for the labels, who’ve extracted 20% of the equity, and 70% of the revenue from that model, while holding on to the ability to demand even higher percentages once they’ve cashed out.

        But thanks for the free advice. I’ll try to be more useful in the future!

        • Anonymous

          1. Consumers ceasing to buy is revolt. Consumers turning to illegal means to consume is revolt.

          2.Netflix proves people will pay a monthly fee. Netflix proves windowing is accepted by consumers.

          3. You’re welcome for the free advice. Here’s some more: pull your head out of your ass.

  7. Anonymous

    I’m sure the fact that music is so forgettable these days has nothing to do with this…

  8. Rui Gonçalves

    The huge problem is the major Labels , they always do what they want cuz they have catalog from dead Artists like Michael Jackson , Elvis etc….so small Artists can not do nothing about , the streaming R killing the industry completely, It belongs to US ALL to save the music producers ,by buying legal download , or vinil and cd ….I´m doing my side part ,still buy CDs and Itunes songs….so I can sleep every night …well.

    • smg77

      Exactly. The labels have always been the problem.

  9. Name2


    1. You’re projecting 2015 numbers in July? Really? Is that based on any kind of seasonal consideration or did you just multiply the first two quarters 2015 by almost-a-half?

    2. With or without streaming, people really would eventually pick up on the fact that buying music from itunes is overcompressed, overpriced, overhyped, and, well, just OVER. Aside from pono, itunes is the single worst customer experience in music downloads out there.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Thanks for addressing me as darling, actually if you can use ‘dahling’ next time that would be appreciated. Now onto your actually substantive questions.

      1. You’re projecting 2015 numbers in July? Really? Is that based on any kind of seasonal consideration or did you just multiply the first two quarters 2015 by almost-a-half?

      It’s a flat-line, which is a blunt projection, yes. In actuality, I think you’ll see a 20%+ decline YOY by the end of 2015 given the direct replacement of a-la-carte downloads by streaming within the same app. Plus, the biggest post-Christmas bump on downloads traditionally comes in January (meaning, 2016).

      2. With or without streaming, people really would eventually pick up on the fact that buying music from itunes is overcompressed, overpriced, overhyped, and, well, just OVER.

      That could take a little longer than you think, it always does, but in theory I think you’re ultimately right that Apple is setting in motion extreme market cannibalism. Which, incidentally, is something Steve Jobs was never afraid of. But this will have a devastating impact on labels that are generating significant recording revenues from digital (which means, yes, downloads, regardless of the talking points).

      • Name2

        Taylor Swift does what’s good for Taylor Swift.
        Apple does what’s good for Apple.

        Water is wet.

  10. Name2

    And a rusted sinking ship graphic for a flat year, because, well, why not? It’s DMN.

    Growth now! Growth forever!!!!

    • Faza (TCM)

      Given that downloads are one of the few things still keeping the industry afloat, as it were, I don’t think that’s particularly inappropriate.

      Do bear in mind that, in terms of total revenue, we’ve not seen any growth in a long time.

      • Anonymous

        Catalog keeps the industry afloat.

        At some point there will be the revelation that people that know nothing about music should not be the ones trying to sell it.

  11. Wooly

    2 things about this:

    1. People already have the music they want.
    2. Current artists/releases are not worth purchasing.

  12. mac

    i just brought 7 songs today. and feeling great

  13. Important

    Spotify and Streaming is the future. Streaming is better and cheaper. iTunes is bad, because there you cannot search after labels. As label is it not possible to buy a advertising banner. Only iTunes decide which label get a banner in their stores and is always the same labels. This know the fans and move to other stores!!! iTunes is bad and i am happy, that it go down. I hope also that Apple Music will go down!