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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