Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Digital downloads overtake physical music sales in the US for first time

Ten years after Steve Jobs promised to reinvent the music industry with the iPod, digital downloads have overtaken physical sales of singles and albums for the first time in the US.

Digital downloads accounted for a record 50.3% of all music sales in the US last year, according to an annual report by Nielsen and Billboard, contributing to a rise in total album sales for the first time since 2004.

The report shows digital album sales passed the 100m mark for the first time in 2011, as London-born Adele dominated the US charts. Individual digital track downloads also set a new record, reaching 1.27bn sales last year – an increase of 100m sales compared to 2010.

However, while music fans flocked to the internet in record numbers, the report shows that vinyl also had something of a resurgence. Vinyl album sales topped 3.9m last year, accounting for a tiny 1.2% of all album sales but shattering the previous record of 2.8m LP sales.

Total US digital sales were up 8.4% year on year in 2011, while physical sales fell 5% to 228m.  Read more