This Week in the Mercury


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

More Music Numbers

Posted by Andrew R Tonry on Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 3:55 PM

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A little update on a recent post about music numbers. End Hits readers were rightly skeptical of the strange graphic in the NY Times Magazine asserting that "71% of all music sales last year were individual digital tracks."

Certainly it seemed odd. I thought maybe it meant in terms of volume of purchases, where, by their math, a single downloaded song was weighted equally towards the purchase of a packaged physical CD. More news on this today, from the paper version of the Times:

Physical album sales fell 20 percent, to 362.6 million last year, according to Nielsen, while sales of individual digital tracks rose 27 percent, to 1.07 billion, failing to compensate for the drop.

By that math, volume wise, downloads count for about 68% of all sales. (My math is rusty as crap, however.) This could be a small sampling error, and close enough to the other figure. Again, we're talking volume of single purchases, not number of total songs vs. albums. Then again, we don't know if those online purchase figures account for single songs or credit card charges (where a number of songs were bought at one time). Either way, I thought it'd be interesting to follow up, at least in part.

For citation, here's the whole story. It's a good one, on new business models for bands and labels. Read it.

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