According to Billboard, 2016 is the worst year for music sales since 1991, when Nielsen Music (SoundScan) was launched.
Album sales have totaled 100.3 million in the past 6 months, down 13.6%, and even track-equivalent albums (TEA), which means that 10 tracks equal the sale of one album, are down 16.9%. Half of the album sales are CDs, and we know how that medium has been declining since the streaming platforms launched. Even single track sales have dropped by nearly 24% this year, but vinyl sales still seem to be gaining momentum with an increase of 11.4 %, equalling 6.2 million in sales.
Music streaming, however, is still fast on the rise and is obviously the preferred method for listening, as Billboard states: “Listeners streamed 208.9 billion songs (which translates to 139.2 million album units) between January and now, an increase of 58.7 percent. Of that 208.9 billion, 113.6 billion were audio-only, versus 95.3 billion video streams (defined as a music video view on YouTube, Vevo, Tidal and Apple Music – of which the latter two contribute a very small piece). It’s the first time audio has surpassed lower-paying video streams.”
So it seems as though people are listening to more music than ever these days, but are drifting away from purchasing albums. This is definitely a predictable aspect of the music industry as Spotify has 100 million users worldwide, with Apple Music looking to catch up in the quest for streaming dominance. With that in mind, it's safe to say that we can expect this downward trend in music sales to continue.
[Image: Flickr user Vancouver Film School]