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Monday, July 7, 2014

I found the following numbers in Saturday's New York Times: According to data from Nielsen SoundScan listeners in the United States used audio and video streaming services to listen to 70.3 billion songs in the first half of 2014, an increase of 42 percent from the first half of 2013. This growth appears to have come at the expense of traditional sales, with downloads now joining CDs as a format in decline. 120.9 million albums have been sold so far this year, down 14.9 percent from the first half of 2013. Of those albums, 62.9 million were on CD (down 19.6 percent) and 53.8 million were digital downloads (down 11.6 percent). Download sales — a major growth engine for the music industry since the introduction of Apple’s iTunes store in 2003 — began to cool several years ago. But their slip from a format on the rise to one on the decline has come suddenly. Last year, downloads of individual tracks fell for the first time, by 6 percent, and in the first half of 2014 they dropped 13 percent, to 593.6 million. For music companies and the artists they represent, a crucial question is whether the increasing income from streaming services — which pay fractions of pennies in royalties each time a song is listened to — will offset the drop in sales. While many in the industry are bullish on this question, Nielsen’s own formula suggests that, at least so far, it is not enough. All in all the news are pretty bad for songwriters.

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