Digital Song Sales Haven’t Been This Low in 8 Years

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We all know that music sales are going down as streams go up, but how bad it is?

Pretty bad.

Billboard reports that digital song sales during the week ending August 27th were the lowest they’d been in almost eight years.

15.66 million songs were sold last week. In comparison, song sales were at 15.64 million in the week ending December 9th, 2007.

The top selling song of last week was R. City’s “Locked Away”, selling 92,000 copies. This is the lowest top selling digital single in almost nine years.

Audio and video streams were at their highest ever last week, sitting at 6.6 billion.

Image: Brian Smith, CC by 2.0.

26 Responses

  1. Willis

    At some point, the generation that wanted to “have” music will have all they want. This may be that point.

    • Gnome Sane

      Exactly….. especially the subtle point of “the generation”… because young people just don’t see it the same way. Nobody is scared about a shortage of music or being stuck with corporate music. There are millions upon millions of songs to stream and buy on Itunes or whatever. No shortage here.

  2. Name2

    Also from that Billboard article:

    Album Sales Update: The digital song dip (and streaming high) comes four weeks after weekly album sales volume fell to a new low: 3.71 million in the week ending July 30. A week later, another woeful distinction was claimed: the top album of the week — the soundtrack to Disney Channel’s Descendants — sold just 42,000 copies. That’s the lowest sales figure for a No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, or Top Album Sales, since Nielsen Music began powering the charts’ rankings in 1991.

    LOL. Buy another state Attorney General, RIAA. That’ll really show them.

  3. smg77

    Yes! Streaming is the future and anybody who can’t adapt to that reality needs to find another industry.

    • Jim

      Streaming is great – but it needs to pay the artists, not the corporate jerks who take the music and make money off it while not paying the artists. They make money off other people’s work and careers. Nice guys.

      Find another industry? Yes, I guess many artists will have to give up music. You will be left to listen to the corporate sewage that’s on the corporate controlled radio. Artists who have ZERO talent like Kanye West, people who can’t sing like Katy Perry, talentless losers like Nikki Minaj who will insult you and shake their fat nasty ass in your face and idiots like Miley Cyrus who will get naked and try to shock you will be your entertainment.

  4. superduper

    If you really think about it, there is no difference between a digital download and a stream except for how it is acquired and accessed. In other words, the only difference is that most streams are done online (which means that an internet connection is required) and require the use of a service in order to access the media (if you quit Spotify for instance you lose the access to the songs). But going deeper than that the only true difference is the business model. The only real difference is that you have to pay for digital downloads and you don’t necessarily have to pay for streaming.

    • Versus

      “The only real difference is that you have to pay for digital downloads and you don’t necessarily have to pay for streaming.”

      Rather important difference, no?

    • Randi

      There is a big difference. Musicians do not get paid for streaming. .000143 cents is not a payment.

      The artists need to get paid for their work.

      • Name2

        I spend $45/month on streaming. I’m not the problem. Go moan at the people who are the problem.

  5. dcguzman

    Digital downloads isnt even the future when Napster first released on the internet. Streaming websites that uses flash are around even after Napster shuts down. I know because I always visit those websites before those are DMCA. Its around 2006 when those websites become popular when broadband becomes mainstream.

  6. KevinC

    Streaming, free or paid, is not about the music but all about numbers. Getting that millions of people onto a platform by any means is just a way to set that company up for the big sale.

    • Name2

      It’s 2015. Our musical world has basically boiled down to 3 recording companies left standing.

      What, exactly, is your point????

  7. Elz

    The transition to streaming is only natural, but with the regression of sales, so should go the major labels.The only reason the majors have power has always been due to their ability to distribute music internationally and globally. Now, their services are becoming less and less necessary as streaming revenues go up. However, they have claimed ownership of a large majority of valuable music recordings over the decades, and that is now their only true leverage.

  8. Yep

    but ‘streaming’ is ‘song sales’ Steaming is the new way people consume music. What the hell is this article about?

    • Mac

      Streaming doesn’t get calculated the same way a digital download sale does. Also, artists make virtually no money from streaming.

  9. Spoken X Digital Media Group

    The digital permanent download or the independent artist A2C which means artist to consumer are relics of the rapid and multi dimensional digital music landscape. The fragmented publishing industry has to come together like the mob of old syndication as a legalized mob–entity monopolized and morphed in a service orientated ecosystem . Every member in the family has a function. Every country is a jurisdiction in the larger scheme of the international entities all in one common goal–:: To provide content to the digital convergence landscape comprised of mobile networks , phone manufacturers, auto makers , PC and tablets and so on. Let the data be unlimited and free in return for 60% of gross of any all things digital capable of reproducing and performing that master use accordingly. . .At the end we’ll be the giants and they’ll be a bunch of tech makers with nothing to meet it’s compatibility standards. . .

    • Name2

      Blah blah tech this Blah Blah tech that.

      Recording is now, what, a 118 year old TECHnology?

      At what point will you people stop complaining about “tech”?

  10. Name2

    Note to Nina: thanks for substituting the trendline chart for the viral dog pic.

    Helps make a lot more sense of this for anyone actually interested in business.

    • Name2

      Although, we probably could do without yet another DMN “projection”.

      Can’t have everything, I suppose.

    • superduper

      Lol Forbes articles have been nothing but tech-apologist bullcrap, especially ones by that author.