Streaming music services like Spotify continue to increase in popularity — possibly at the expense of traditional music downloads.
On-demand music streaming, such as Spotify, increased by 42% in the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan data released July 2. At the same time, digital music sales, such as traditional iTunes downloads, decreased 13%.
Nielsen SoundScan noted in January that sales of individual music tracks declined in 2013 for the first time since the 2003 launch of the iTunes Store. 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, 2013, was the second best selling album of the year with 972,000 units sold.
In January 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
The Recording Industry Association of America on May 28 hailed the so-called six strikes anti-piracy program, saying it has helped convince people to seeks legal alternatives to music piracy.
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