Digital music sales leveling off | iLounge News

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Digital music sales leveling off

Despite the increasing popularity of the iPod and iTunes Music Store, digital music sales in the U.S. have plateaued in recent months. According to Nielsen SoundScan, sales of digital tracks almost tripled to 6.6 million downloads a week in the year through May, and were at only 6.7 million in the last week of October.

“The download numbers suggest that the iPod’s iconic success, which has driven up Apple’s share price almost sixfold since 2001, isn’t translating into new music sales the way the evolution from vinyl albums to cassettes and then CDs did,” says Bloomberg’s Charles Goldsmith. “For many users, the portable devices are just another way of stocking and listening to music, not an incentive to buy new music,” he says.

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Comments

1

wasn’t may when they were giving away hundreds of free ipods for downloading music? that definitely sped up sales, and I would say it’s impressive that sales didn’t drop off after that incentive was removed.

Posted by jm on November 2, 2005 at 8:49 PM (PDT)

2

i wish vinyl never moved on to tapes. Anyone for bringing back vinyl?

Posted by NathanTaylor on November 2, 2005 at 10:40 PM (PDT)

3

Bring back vinyl?

You’re kidding right?

Posted by ucfgrad93 on November 2, 2005 at 11:31 PM (PDT)

4

iPods are digital music is different that the introduction of tapes or cd.
When you bought a tape player, you could only play tapes on it. there was reason to only buy tapes and not vinyl.
When you bought a cd player, again, only cd’s played on it. So you went out and just bought cd’s and forgot about tapes.

However, buying an iPod doesn’t stop you from using cd’s with your iPod. You’re not locked in to only buying digital music through iTMS to play on your iPod, no, you can keep buying CD’s and rip them.

So you can’t really compare this transition to past format transitions, because the circumstances are very different

Posted by Nathan A on November 3, 2005 at 1:34 AM (PDT)

5

As a guy who was around before cassette tapes were sold, my take on it is cassettes were not an evolution away from vinyl at all. The features and benefits of the cassette format, being actually quite complimentary to vinyl, allowed it to peacefully coexist alongside records. Cassettes may have eaten into vinyl sales, but records were never going to be replaced by tapes, period. That’s why the CD format was so powerful. Its features allowed it to displace both vinyl _and_ tapes.

The move to a digital file “format” is unprecedented, so I think it’s too early to know if digital music can replace CDs or if people will feel comfortable over time buying something that’s only a bunch of ones and zeros on their hard drive. I have a hard time not seeing some kind of physical delivery media always existing, but who knows.

Also, I think we’ll see another spike in music sales after the holidays when several million more new digital music player owners start dipping their toes in the water…

Posted by bipto in Minneapolis, MN on November 3, 2005 at 5:23 AM (PDT)

6

I call FUD on this.  According to my calculations Apple’s, worldwide, sale of music through ITMS has increased week for week in the recent months.
Please confirm such rumours, preferably with Apple, before passing them on.
Look at the rest of he article: it is all about music industry directors demanding more money for “their” songs.

Posted by hnhansen on November 3, 2005 at 8:28 AM (PDT)

7

I sure hope they are leveling off! Apple needs some incentive to improve the quality of iTMS tracks. Adding aacPlus support to iTunes and the iPod and switching iTMS tracks to 128 kbps aacPlus would be one way to do it, without increasing download times. I know I’d start buying from iTMS again if they did that. Oh, and gapless playback in iTunes and the iPod. For god’s sake, gapless!!!

Posted by SteveJ on November 3, 2005 at 1:43 PM (PDT)

8

Nathan A, you hit it right on! Your analogy makes sense.

Also, yeah, it would be cool for vinyl to return, but obviously only as a choice. Gotta have the other music formats as well! wink

Posted by Andipod on November 4, 2005 at 7:14 AM (PDT)

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