July 19, 2013
For those still wondering why Apple is getting into the streaming music business, take note of the latest music sales numbers. During the first half of the year, digital track downloads are down 2.3 percent. At the same time, streaming volume is up 24 percent year over year – and this is before iTunes Radio launches later this year. Nielsen Entertainment and Billboard’s 2013 Mid-Year Music Industry Report shows that sales of albums and track equivalents are down 4.6 percent. CD sales are down 14.2 percent, while vinyl LP sales are up 33.5 percent. Digital sales aren’t all bad, however. Sales of digital albums are actually up 6.3 percent. Nonetheless, the big news here is the growth of streaming music. As David Bakula, SVP Nielsen Entertainment notes:
Streaming continues to be a tremendous growth story with over 50 Billion audio and video streams in the first six months of 2013. Not only are we seeing massive volume of streams, but we continue to see growth on a comparable provider basis, with stream volume up 24% over the same period last year.Apple’s iTunes Radio service launches this fall. It will be available via iOS, OS X, Apple TV, and Windows. The service will be free and supported by ads. For more information on iTunes Radio, see: Apple May Have Bigger Plans For Its New iTunes Radio Service, and To Pay Or Not To Pay: Apple Details iTunes Radio Royalty Terms For Record Labels.