Vinyl, Cassettes & Retail

Nielson Report: U.S. Digital Music Sales Flat

image from According to a new report from Nielsen Research, 630 million digital music tracks were bought in the US in the first six months of this year. That number essentially equals sales for the same period a year ago and follows two years of  expansion: 13% 2008-2009 and 28% 2007-2008.

Most record labels have projected slow but continued digital growth; though few believed download sales would offset declines in physical revenue.  According to Jean Littolff, managing director of Nielsen Music, flat U.S. sales may have been caused by low consumer confidence, weak release schedules and confusion over the many choices people have to buy music online. "I think this is a plateau, it doesn't mean that this digital consumption is going to drop significantly," he told Reuters. "It's a plateau, but it's not yet saturation."

For a growing number of artists and labels value-added content and non-music revenue like merchandise appear to be the best path to sustainable profits. Others believe that subscription music services – access to music rather than ownership – will eventually be the solution the music industry's revenue dilemma. 

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  1. Well, this is very old news. This article uses data from Q1 and Q2 even though Q3 is almost over. This article is not based on a new Nielsen report. This is just a Reuters story with old sales data.
    In Q3, the story is the same. YTD individual track sales are flat.
    But the article forgot to mention digital albums. They’re up double digits this year.

  2. Glenn,
    Your wisdom is always welcome here. It must be a very different experience to get paid to write stories for Billboard where readers aren’t given a vehicle to comment.
    Just FYI – I wrote the story because the Reuters piece (which I credited)contained an interesting quote from Neilson as to why sales may have been be what they were. I also wrote it because opinions are starting to coalesce as to what the the future of the music industry may look like and wanted to give our readers an opportunity to comment.
    PS: I’m still glad that that I said nice things about you in another piece on Hypebot today:
    Be well.

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