U.S. Music Biz Sees First Ever Drop in Digital Music Sales

Apparently, Beyonce can’t carry an entire industry

Last Updated: July 10, 2014 @ 7:34 PM

Mrs. Carter, your industry is going to need you to go ahead and secretly drop some more hotness.

For the first time in history, the U.S. music business saw a decrease in digital sales in 2013.

Digital track sales fared poorer than digital album sales, seeing a 5.7 percent downtick, compared to just a 0.1 percent decline, respectively, according to Billboard.

In 2013, 1.26 billion digital tracks were sold, versus 2012’s 1.34 billion. Album sales dropped from 117.7 million units to 117.6 million.

Also read: Warner Music Group to Settle $11.5 Million Digital Download Lawsuit

Those results don’t mean that people are consuming less music digitally — while official Nielsen SoundScan streaming data has not yet been released, industry insiders are experiencing a growth in subscription-based streaming numbers. Those gains offset the losses.

All told, album sales are down 8.4 percent, falling from 316 million units in 2012 to 289.4 million in 2013. CDs, still the most dominant form of album sales in the U.S., dropped 14.5 percent.

However, this year, million-selling (“platinum”) albums were up from 10 to 13, while songs were slightly down from 108 to 106.

Also read: Beyonce Is Queen Once More, Secret Album Runaway No. 1

As far as genre-based sales go, R&B, which also includes rap/hip-hop, was the only one to post an increase in 2013, with a modest 1.2 percent increase.


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