Digital Music Shift Higlighted by Download Slide

The year 2014 saw a decline in the sales of music downloads, both in the US and the UK, as consumers shifted to using streaming services like Spotify rather than purchasing songs online. According to the data accumulated, there was a 12% reduction is the sales of digital songs and a 9% decrease in sales of digital albums. In comparison, there was more than 50% increase seen in the US audio and video streaming as a total of 164 billion songs were streamed. Stark changes in the digital music market are highlighted by the shift.

There has been rapid growth of advertising-supported and subscription streaming services such as Deezer and Spotify whereas downloads have stalled, which are the bedrock of the iTunes store of Apple Inc. In the previous year, the iPhone maker bought Beats and plans to bundle this music streaming service into its iOS operating system in the first half of 2015. Taylor Swift was the biggest-selling artist in the US in the past year as she sold 3.66 million of the total 257 million album sales in 2014.

She withdrew her music from Spotify and took a stand for supporting only download sales. The second-biggest seller of the year was the Frozen soundtrack and the third was Sam Smith, the British singer, who also made a break in the UK in the same year. In the UK, it was the first time that download sales had fallen as they had seen a strong growth cycle, which had initiated over a decade ago when the iTunes was launched. There was a 2% decrease in the UK recorded music sales and British artists had made all the top 10 albums.

In 2014, a total of 30 million albums were downloaded in the UK, which was a reduction from 32.6 million downloaded in the previous year. In contrast, the retail value of subscriptions paid to streaming services saw an increase of 65%. The UK and the US are two of the biggest music markets, with Japan taking third place so they are considered bellwethers of global trends in the music industry.

When speaking about 2014, Spotify’s Kevin Brown said that it is the year when streaming truly became popular in the UK.

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