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Massive Changes In This Year's Music Sales

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A recent Nielson report on the year's music sales reveals some interesting new data on how music is being consumed. Massive growth has been seen for streaming services like Spotify, but conventional digital track sales have slumped.

Guest Post by Bobby Owsinski on Music 3.0

Nielsen's mid-year music sales report is out and a lot has changed in a mere 6 months. Here are some of the highlights.

On-demand streaming from services like Spotify is up 92.4% over last year! Over 135 billion songs have been streamed so far this year. Yes, this streaming thing is definitely catching on. 

Vinyl sales continue to rise at an ever greater rate, up 38% over last year. Vinyl albums now comprise almost 9% of all album sales.

Digital track download sales are down 10.4% from last year. The bloom is off the rose.

Digital album sales are virtually flat though, which is good news considering that last year they were down 10%.

If you add in the new ways of looking at albums in the digital domain (track equivalent albums = 10 and stream equivalent albums = 1500), total album sales are actually up 14% over last year at this time.

CD sales are down 10%, which is decreasing at a much slower rate that anticipated and slower than we've seen in previous years.

Physical album sales are down at traditional big-box retail, but up 0.6% at indie music stores, and up a giant 18% at non-traditional vendors like online, at the venue, and direct-to-consumer.

What do these numbers prove? Music is still not only alive and well, but demand and consumption is growing. What we don't see in the Nielsen report is the revenue numbers, and that's where the actual tale is told. We have to wait for the end of the year for that.

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