How YouTube and Spotify are Killing Digital Music Sales

An interesting read from Time:

Since the iTunes Store launched in 2003, digital music sales have been viewed as the music industry’s saving grace in the face of declining physical album sales and rampant online piracy. Now, with a deluge of  music streaming services letting fans listen to songs for free, the digital download may be going the way of the CD and the cassette tape before it.

U.S. digital track sales decreased for the first time ever in 2013, dropping from 1.34 billion to 1.26 billion, according to Nielsen SoundScan. CD sales also continued their ongoing decline, dropping 14 percent to 165 million. Digital album sales were stable, staying at 118 million sold last year. Meanwhile the number of songs streamed through services like Spotify, YouTube and Rhapsody increased 32 percent to 118.1 billion.

The rise of streaming has been swift. Spotify just arrived on U.S. shores in the summer of 2011, but it has become a lightning rod for controversy thanks to a chorus of artists who decry that paying musicians a fraction of a cent per listen is unfair. Make no mistake, though: this model is the future. Both YouTube and Beats Electronics are planning to launch paid streaming services early this year, and the French company Deezer is expected to bring its popular service to American shores soon. Even Apple, the king of digital sales, has dipped a toe into the streaming space by launching the Pandora competitor iTunes Radio.

Read more.  This will be a big story throughout 2014.  And you wonder why the music industry isn’t keen on having Spotify enter the Canadian market…  Thanks to Rupinder for the link.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

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