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Digital Music sales decrease for the first time in 2013

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I have heard that not only streaming, but other factors are coming into play.



  • Many people have purchased almost all the old backlog titles they want
  • There is concern over whether or not a CD sounds better, and so people have slowed down a little.
  • Then they slowed down a little more wondering if they will have to repurchase all their content to gain "full fidelity" - meaning the talk about Hi-Res and new formats is penetrating the public awareness.
  • Also, without Jobs backing Apple, there has been a bit of a loss of confidence. Especially after experiencing the last few iTunes upgrades! That has supposedly put a slowdown on the iTunes store.
  • And of course, Amazon and a dozen other outlets are also "putting the hurt" on the iTunes download service.
  • Lastly, the market is experimenting with and trying to find the right format for television and movie - and streaming seems to be the huge hit in that area. Even when a subscription is required. Lots of bugs in that soupy mess though!


Digital Music Sales Decrease For First Time in 2013 | Billboard


Looks like streaming is the winner, as many expected.

Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat DAC.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Thanks for the news. I hope that high-res merchant websites thrive despite the general downturn. Whether my hope is justified, well...

You'd have to ask the Chesky brothers (HDtracks), or Yves Riesel from Qobuz.


I'd assume given that it is a new segment starting from low volumes, and an increasing number of audiophiles going computer, that this should be a growing segment for the moment. However, I'd be surprised if it ever will become more than a niche, like the rest of high end audio. The only good news is that the target audience for both still has enough disposable income.

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Despite the decline in digital album sales, download stores like iTunes gained market share growing to 40.6% of U.S album sales, while mass merchants like Target and Walmart saw sales drop 16.3% to about 78 million units and now comprise nearly 27% market share; with chain stores like Best Buy and Trans World seeing sales decline by nearly 20% to 39 million album units to comprise 13.5% market share.

Meanwhile non-traditional CD merchants like Amazon, Starbucks and concert venues saw album sales increase by 2.4% to 36.5 million units; and indie merchants dropped by nearly 12% to 18.3 million units. Respectively, the former comprises 12.6% of album sales while the latter accounts for 6.3%.


It looks like record stores or anyone selling physical media, Amazon aside, are taking the hit. Not a surprise from the local landscape but a shame. I think so sotm lives in the indie record store.

Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not." — Nelson Pass

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  • 2 weeks later...
well,not for the members of this forum is my guess.


or am I wrong?


Streaming or downloading?


As far as I am concerned, you are 100% correct. I for one never spent a dime on streaming in my life whereas, over the past couple of years, I have forked out big bucks on music downloads.

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