Music Industry

Another Indication that Paid Downloads are in Big Trouble

Once upon a time not that long ago, iTunes ruled the music universe, controlling about 70% of the paid download market. Apple was most pleased, especially since the size of the market kept expanding.

Then it stopped expanding. And it started to shrink.

The future is all about streaming. Now that we can access any song at any time through one of your devices, possession of music becomes less of a priority. Sure, you’ll buy digital files, CDs or vinyl of the stuff you really want, but for the purposes of auditioning, experimenting and satisfying your curiosity, streaming is much better–and much, much cheaper.

Paid downloads keep dropping. I point you at Billboard’s Digital Song Sales Chart. The #1 song this week is “Closer” by The Chainsmokers, which chalked up 84,000 paid downloads for the sale week ending October 27. That’s the lowest amount for a #1 song since “Lips of an Angel” by Hinder back on October 28, 2006. It sold 75,000 that week–which was HUGE considering that the idea of iTunes was still brand new and that release of an iPhone was still months away.

Meanwhile over at Sony, streaming is bringing in WAY more money than downloads. Figures on Sony’s Q2 released today say that streaming generated 41.5% of Sony’s retail music revenues (excluding licensing, by the way). Download income fell by 31.6%.

If you aren’t into streaming yet, it’s just a matter of time. More at RAIN.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38542 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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