The Wall Street Journal is reporting that digital music sales through the iTunes Store have fallen 13 to 14 percent worldwide this year, compared with only a 2.1 percent decline last year. As more people subscribe to subscription-based music streaming services, fewer are purchasing tracks to download and own.
Digital music sales at Apple Inc.'s iTunes store have fallen 13 percent to 14 percent worldwide since the start of the year, according to people familiar with the matter, underscoring the fragility of the music industry's nascent recovery.
The dive in download sales is stark compared with a much shallower dip last year. Global revenue from downloads fell 2.1 percent in 2013, according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, but that decline was offset by increases in revenue from ad-supported and subscription streaming services, resulting in overall digital revenue growth in most markets last year.
Factoring in CD sales, which have been plunging for well over a decade, overall music sales in most of the world held steady last year. Japan was an exception, with steep drops in physical and digital sales alike. Worldwide revenue from recorded music totaled $15 billion in 2013.
The plummeting download numbers help illustrate why Apple bought the $10-a-month subscription streaming service Beats Music earlier this year, as part of its $3 billion acquisition that included headphone maker Beats Electronics. Apple is rebuilding Beats Music and plans to relaunch it next year as part of iTunes, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Apple is the biggest seller of music in the world, physical or digital. Its dominance over other download stores is especially pronounced, according to music executives.
To read the complete Wall Street Journal article, click here (subscription required).
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