Music Sales Decrease by 21-Percent; Spotify, YouTube, 'ADD' to Blame
The CD market has been dying a slow, inglorious death for more than a decade now, since consumers having long ago shifted to the quicker, easier digital download format. According to a new study, though, it's not just CD sales that are suffering, but the music industry as a whole -- including those vaunted download sales. A report from market research firm NPD shows that between 2007 and 2009, the number of Americans paying for music in any form dwindled by about 24 million. While 35.2 million paid for digital song downloads in '08, that total dropped to 34.6 million in '09. According to DMW, the annual amount an average listener spent on digital downloads, however, actually rose from $33 to $50.
NPD analyst Russ Crupnick speculates that the drop-off in digital sales might be due to an ADD-like phenomenon that's taken hold of music consumers. With more options to stream and sample music without buying it, people have become more likely to browse, and less likely to buy. As Crupnick says, "more listening just means more listening and tends to lead to less purchasing."
Some of the other data in the report, however, seem a bit curious. While NPD found that Spotify service led to a 13-percent decrease in paid downloads, online radio site Pandora actually led to a 41-percent increase in purchased music. Over the last year, peer-to-peer file sharing also decreased sharply, perhaps due to growing fears of spyware, greater competition from legal services, or newer, more trusted ways of exchanging music among friends.
It doesn't appear, then, that there's any one overarching reason for the decline in sales revenue. As a result, where the industry goes from here is anybody's guess, though Trent Reznor and Radiohead seem to be pioneering with graduated pay schemes. But based on the trends of the past two years, it looks as if the days of recorded music as monetized commodity may soon be a thing of the past. [From: DigitalMediaWire]