It’s Over: Digital Downloads Scrape a 10-Year Low…

Digital Downloads Continue Steep Slide
  • Save

Digital Downloads Continue Steep Slide
  • Save
Image by marc falardeau (CC by 2.0)

Is the digital downloads era now over?

Earlier this year, an RIAA report showed that music streaming finally overtook digital downloads in overall revenue for 2015. People were streaming more on services like Spotify and Tidal, but downloading individual songs and albums less on services like iTunes. A new Billboard report further strengthens the argument that digital downloads are no longer hot items.

The Chainsmoker’s Closer featuring Hasley took first place in the Digital Song Sales chart dated November 12. However, according to Nielsen sales, the song only scored 84,000 downloads for the week ending October 27.

This is the lowest download tally in 10 years.

This is Closer’s 12th week atop Digital Song Sales. The song sold 208,000 downloads more than a month ago.

Hinder’s Lips of an Angel was the last song to lead the Digital Songs Sales chart with less downloads than Closer, at 75,000 downloads on Oct. 28, 2006. This week marks the fourth week in a row that the top song reached less than 100,000 total downloads.

No other song had reached less than 90,000 since Beyonce’s Irreplaceable on Dec. 30, 2006. Beyonce’s song topped the charts with just 88,000 downloads. However, in 2015, R. City’s Locked Away featuring Adam Levine dominated the charts, with only 92,000 song downloads.

According to Billboard, the Digital Song Sales chart started tracking digital download data on Feb. 12, 2005. Green Day’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams topped the chart then, with 32,000. Back then, no song broke the 100,000 tally until D4L’s Laffy Taffy on Jan. 14, 2006, with 175,000. Billboard says that starting on February 2006, songs led the list with six-digit figures.

Closer reflects the latest trend in paid downloads, as Nielsen estimated earlier this year that digital songs have fallen by 25 percent in 2016. Last year, digital downloads saw a 13 percent decline.

As paid digital song downloads fade, music streaming is on the rise. According to Nielsen, U.S. audio and video streaming surged 93% from 2014 to 2015. Audio streams year-over-year were up 83%, but video streams saw a huge increase at 102%.