Streaming music services like Spotify continue to increase in popularity — possibly at the expense of traditional music downloads.
Digital music sales declined 13.3% in the U.S. in Q1 2014 (compared to Q1 2013), according to Nielsen SoundScan data released April 7. While digital music sales declined, interactive streaming (such as Spotify and Rdio) was up 34.7% for the same time period.
Nielsen SoundScan's data comes one week after the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) said revenue from subscription-based streaming services topped $1 billion for the first time ever in 2013. Total streaming revenue reached $1.11 billion in the year.
Global digital music revenue, which includes traditional music downloads, reached $5.9 billion in 2013, an increase of 4.3% from 2012. Overall music revenue, including revenue from physical formats, reached $15 billion, a 3.9% decline from 2012.
"The broad picture that emerges is of an extremely diverse industry. Most of our major markets have stabilized, digital continues to grow, revenue streams have diversified and we are starting to deliver on the huge potential in emerging markets." Frances Moore, IFPI CEO
Sales of individual music tracks declined for the first time since the 2003 launch of the iTunes Store in 2013, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Sales were down 5.7% in the year. Sales of full albums were down 0.1% in the year.
Digital album sales were down despite several high-profiles releases in 2013, including albums from Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and Katy Perry (pictured). Beyonce's album, released exclusively on iTunes Dec. 13, was the second best selling album of the year with 972,000 units sold.
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