Could Music Downloads Be Dead by 2020?
Back in the early to late 2000s music downloads were predicted to be the saviour of the music industry. Outdated CD sales were falling, music downloads were on the up, and mp3 players were all the range. These new digital copies were set to replace all hard copies of music, but over the last four years, music downloads have dropped, and at a rate that could spell the end of music downloads by 2020.
Downloads of music tracks have crashed over the last four years, according to Nielsen, an American global information and measurement company, downloads have dropped in the US by 42% since 2012. With download sales falling by 24% in the first six months of 2016 alone. The difference between the figures from the same time in 2015 are staggering, that 24% accumulates to 127.3m sales.
It’s predicted that if the US download market continued to fall at that 1616level, music downloads on the likes of iTunes would be history.
With the average track sale typically costing around $1.29, the drop in downloads since 2012 can be represented as a loss of around $300m a year.
On the other side of the scale, the findings show that music streaming is growing rapidly, up year-on-year by around 97 percent in the US. With 114.6bn, or 431,000 streams a minute, in the first half of 2016.
Digital albums also had a fall in sales, at 18.4 percent or 9.9 million units over the last year in the US.
Mark Mulligan, an analyst at Midia doesn’t agree that downloads will be completely gone by 2020, but that Apple will turn off the iTunes Store “By 2020 (Apple’s) download business would be tracking to be 10 times smaller than streaming revenue but, crucially, streaming revenue would nearly have reached the 2012 iTunes Store download revenue peak. This is the point at which Apple would chose to turn off the iTunes Store. The narrative of services based music services would be complete.”
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