Today news broke that Spotify was halting its music download service in favor of pushing more of its streaming services — raising some questions about how well downloads are doing compared to streaming music. But whatever way you cut it, digital music, and digital music purveyors, now dominate the music business, according to new research out from Nielsen (embedded below).
In the analyst group’s annual music industry report, compiled by Nielsen SoundScan and Nielsen BDS, it found that digital music now accounts for 55.9% of all music sales in the U.S. — including both full albums as well as track-equivalent albums.
This is also the first time that digital music stores outpaced physical stores for album sales. iTunes, Amazon, eMusic and others combined to account for 37% of all album sales. Nielsen notes that “Mass Merchants” like Walmart and Target (and physical albums) had led in this category for the last five years; this year their share was only 29%.
In a year where overall sales of in the U.S. albums and track equivalents were down by 1.8% compared to 2011 — Nielsen does not provide the actual monetary figure for how much revenue was generated overall — overall music sales, which include single tracks as well, were up by 3.1%. Digital continues to be the driver of that: digital album sales are up by 14% and digital tracks up by 5%, compared to a decline of 13% in CD sales.
Continue reading the rest of the story on Techcrunch